19 December 2019
The announcement of a Police Protections and Powers Bill, establishment of a Police Covenant, and Royal Commission to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system, have been welcomed by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
These were part of the package announced in the Queen’s Speech during the State Opening of Parliament today (19 December), which also included changes to pre-charge bail conditions and improved measures for police to deal with demonstrations and knife crime
The bill also created a statutory requirement for the Home Office to report annually on progress made against the Police Covenant and confirmed measures to allow special constables to join the Police Federation, and benefit from the additional protection afforded to members.
Another measure which was introduced is a new test to assess a police officer’s standard of driving, so this can be considered during an investigation.
Giving his reaction, PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “It is positive and reassuring to see the Government is listening to us and the Prime Minister has stayed true to his pre-election promises to support law and order.
“The Federation has been campaigning for a Police Covenant, changes to police driving legislation, allowing Special Constables to be members, and increased sentences for violent offenders.
“In addition, we have been calling for a Royal Commission into policing for more than 20 years, and while we await the details, it is an opportunity to examine what the public wants from the police in the 21st century.
“Policing must form a major part of the commission’s remit, and it is vital the Federation is involved to shape future policy for the benefit of our members and the public they serve.
“When I meet with the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister early in the New Year, I will make it clear these promises must now be actioned and supported by long-term investment which we expect to see announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review,” he said.
The Queen’s Speech also included the following law and order commitments:
The Police Powers and Protections Bill will seek to ‘Recognise the bravery, commitment and sacrifices of police officers’ and empower them with additional powers, support and protection, and includes a new measure to “strengthen the powers available to the police to allow them to tackle unauthorised encampments.”