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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Chair addresses key local issues

21 July 2023

There are a number of key issues that I want to address in this message but first I want to say congratulations to PCs Mercedes Newman and Tristian Morrison who represented Hertfordshire at the national Police Bravery Awards in London last week.

Our brave officers attended a Downing Street reception with nominees from across England and Wales and were joined at the evening awards ceremony by our Federation branch secretary Al Wollaston, the PCC David Lloyd and our DCC Bill Jepson.

Both officers are a credit to the Force, and I must admit I could only watch the body cam footage once as it was so harrowing. Our support for these officers is ongoing, but I do hope the few days in London goes some way to show them, their partnersand their families just how grateful we are to them. 

Before moving to some local matters, I would like to draw attention to the news surrounding our pay award, which came out last Thursday – the day of the bravery awards.

We will receive a seven per cent increase from September this year. While welcome, it’s still a pay decrease when you factor in where inflation is currently. The Federation’s National Council has already met to discuss next steps. You may have seen the comments made by Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, around police pay. I share his views; pay must start to go up with pace.

You’ll have seen officers in the Met have also been given an extra £1,000 London weighting allowance. Herts are only able to go up to the £3,000 South East Allowance which we are at now, but we have already contacted the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable around ways of securing further payments for the Federated ranks. The South East Allowance should, at the very least, go up with our pay award. 

We will keep you updated on progress.

As a final comment, before moving into the local news I want to share, I would just like to stress that as it’s clearly a busy time in policing  Herts, along with every force in the country, is struggling to deal with the demand. I urge all staff to ensure they look after each other, and not to burn out. Please contact us if you need us, I do hope everyone gets some time off during the summer period.

Inspectors and chief inspectors

It’s not lost on me how little value these ranks are given in terms of pay. Over the years, both roles have seen officers working above their pay grade and given their over-time was bought out in the late 90s their work isn’t being recognised. Inspecting ranks get no over-time and currently in Herts no TVPs, which means we often see PCs and sergeants earning more than chief inspectors.

We’re also aware that Herts have given some superintendent staff additional payments, which means the gap in pay between supers and the inspecting ranks is again getting wider. 

Nationally, the Federation is looking at this, but I’m also urging our chief officers to review this imbalance in pay and seek other ways, such as honorarium payments, to reward those officers taking on more work or acting above their pay grade. 

Batons 

I’m afraid we haven’t been given any assurances around protecting of officers who take their batons home. While some of you will be aware of a recent case where an officer had a PR24 at home and was given a final written warning, this case is different to someone taking their current baton home. There are no assurances in circumstances such as covering other CSPs or taking home in order to attend training. So, our message is clear, don’t take police batons home. 

Response Officers’ Week

You’ll have seen my previous press release about my frustrating over numbers on the frontline. We knew this period was going to be tough and I’m glad that the exec, having been out and spoken with staff, have put some measures in place to support the frontline. Everyone in the organisation needs to expect to support the frontline moving forward (if able to, ie no restrictions). We’ve already had some positive feedback from staff who have enjoyed spending time back on the frontline and would like to do this more often. 

Half nights 

The last seven days have seen us receive a lot or emails around half nights. Our personal view is this was the wrong time to bring in half nights again. In the future when response is staffed correctly it may be a viable option. But, given the sheer volume of emails from officers across the Force, it’s evidently clear this isn’t working, and we are urging the commanders to review this decision. 

Over-time 

You would have seen the Force is keen to grip our over-time bill. Can I assure officers if you need over-time for spontaneous incidents it will be there. No one will be working for free and there should be no pressure applied to take “time owing”. Please contact us if this is happening or you have example of where over-time is not being provided. 

136/S2 guards 

We’re aware the NHS is no longer funding for hospital guards (secure care) to sit with those detained under S136 or S2 of the Mental Health Act. This scheme worked and I know how disappointed response officers are that this scheme has stopped. 

We have just set up a group to deal with “right care, right person”. There is a willingness from all in the Force to drive this through and we will need support from the PCC, MPs and the Government to ensure this is pushed through and that the police can focus on their core functions. 

Take care.