23 September 2020
Leicestershire Police Federation attend webinar with Shadow Home Secretary to discuss issues in policing
The Shadow Home Secretary is “acutely aware of some of the issues we’re being faced with” and supports the police, the Vice Chair of Leicestershire Police Federation has said, after attending a webinar with the politician.
Labour MP and Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds held a webinar yesterday morning to speak to Police Federations across the UK. As party conferences have gone virtual this year, this was an opportunity for police representatives to get involved and put their questions to politicians.
PC Adam Commons, Vice Chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, was one of the Federation Reps taking part in the webinar. He said that Mr Thomas-Symonds “spoke very highly of police officers in his opening speech”.
Adam continued: “[Mr Thomas-Symonds] said that as far as he was concerned, the 20,000 officer recruitment takes us back to 2010 levels.” Adam said that Mr Thomas-Symonds backed officers’ opinions that 20,000 was a good start but that it needed to go further.
Mr Thomas-Symonds has been Shadow Home Secretary for just over five months, so he discussed his key priorities for the role. Adam said: “He talked about the rise in attacks on police and his thoughts on increasing the sentencing; the changes we’re hoping to bring to the Road Traffic Act to get better protection for emergency drivers; time limits on police conduct; and we discussed a question I asked about criminal justice delays.
“He made reference to the fact that he’d been out with West Midlands Police recently on a night sweep operation, so he’s clearly making an effort to engage with the police and he’s acutely aware of some of the issues we’re being faced with. The fact that he’s gone out already with the police is a positive step.”
Adam added that Mr Thomas-Symonds supported the Protect The Protectors campaign. He said: “The campaign was started from the back benches of the Labour party, by Chris Bryant and Holly Lynch, so they as a party have always been supportive, and he said he continued to be supportive, as the proposals go through Parliament to get sentences of up to two years [for those who assault emergency workers].”
Adam said it was positive that the politicians in both main parties were listening to police officers. He said of the webinar: “There didn’t feel like there was any political point scoring, becuase of the situation with Covid. As with the current Government, a lot of what we’re asking for is aligned with their politics.
“The spotlight is on us, because as soon as we get an update on local lockdowns one of the first things people are told is: ‘Ring the police, they’re there to enforce this legislation’, which is incredibly difficult because there’s not a lot of us there. But we are being talked about and we are being praised for the work we’re trying to do.”