90 days from today is Wed, 23 October 2024

Hertfordshire Police Federation

We still need proper investment in policing

2 November 2021

A couple of stories about police pay and officer numbers caught my eye recently with the Chancellor deciding to scrap the public sector wage freeze and the Home Office releasing figures showing its police uplift scheme had boosted the number of new recruits.

On the face of it, they were two bits of positive news for a change and both have been welcomed as such by the Police Federation.

But no one should be under any illusion that policing’s long-term problems have been adequately addressed by these announcements from the Government. There is still so much more to be done and proper investment required if we want to create a modern, proactive and effective service.

The decision by Rishi Sunak to bring the hugely unpopular pay freeze to an end is, of course, good news but it does nothing to ease the real feelings of injustice felt by our members after their treatment this year.

For many people, not just in policing, it is still beyond belief that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities have been treated with such contempt when it comes to pay.

It will take a long time to rebuild any kind of relationship between the police service and the Government so let’s hope the sense of betrayal and disrespect felt by our members are taken into account when the next pay review comes around.

The latest policing uplift figures showed Hertfordshire Police had taken on 211 recruits since April 2020 and it is good to see the trend of decreasing officer numbers being reversed. But these figures have to be viewed against a backdrop of several years of underfunding and cost-cutting.

Officer numbers nationally may still be short of pre-austerity levels even if Boris Johnson’s recruitment targets are met by 2023 and this at a time when the workload continues to get heavier and heavier.

Policing has been through a turbulent few years and the colleague at the helm of the Police Federation throughout these tough, challenging times has been John Apter who has announced he will not be seeking a second term in office when a new national chair is elected next April.

John took up the role in August 2018 when he became the first national chair to be elected by Federation members and it has been a pleasure working with him over the last three-and-a-half years.

Policing has been under incredible pressure during this time, not least because of the challenges of coronavirus, and John has worked tirelessly to make sure the potential impact of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of Federation members has been properly acknowledged and recognised.

He has pulled no punches in his assessment of the Government’s attitude towards the police service. John will leave office with the respect, thanks and best wishes of Hertfordshire Police Federation as he has been very supportive of the branch and both myself and branch secretary Al Wollaston.

Once again, I’ll close with a reminder that the Federation is here to help should you feel you need any extra support at this time.

Please do not hesitate to contact your workplace rep or the full-time officials if you feel overwhelmed or in any way concerned about your wellbeing, or that of a colleague.

We have access to a wide range of organisations that can offer tailored support where and when it is needed.