16 October 2020
Federation reps took the opportunity to question Policing Minister Kit Malthouse this week - putting him on the spot on a range of issues from the officer uplift to tougher sentences for those who assault the emergency workers.
The Minister listed his top three priorities as getting crime down, recruiting 20,000 new cops and ensuring the police family is “happy, safe and well-motivated”.
He spoke about his time as Boris Johnson's deputy London Mayor for Policing from 2008-2012 dealing with knife crime and fighting to keep police numbers about 30,000. Coming back to the policing world with his boss now at Number 10, feels like slipping on a pair of old jeans”, he said.
Mr Malthouse reiterated the Government's support for introducing a Police Covenant and police driver protections "as soon as possible". He also supported the idea of investigations into police officers by the Independent Office for Police Conduct should be expedited and more geared towards learning than punishment.
On the 20,000 officer uplift, he said: "We've already recruited 4,000 and I'm is confident we'll hit 6,000 before Christmas” – which would be three months ahead of schedule.
PFEW National Chair John Apter challenged the Minister over retention: "There’s still a feeling that those more experienced in life like ex-military or public sector, policing does not want them. So, the age profile in policing is incredibly young. I don’t criticise them for that because we want keen people through the door, but we want a blend. So, we’ve got to change the tone of the messaging.”
Mr Malthouse agreed and added that the Government hopes to change the face of policing with more female and BAME officers also in the mix.
He assured Fed reps that the Government will see through its promise to double the custodial sentences for those who attack officers and said he would monitor what sentences judges actually hand out. “A case in the media the other day was somebody who had broken a police officer’s nose and cheek and he ended up with a suspended sentence. To me that is not acceptable," he said.
Mr Malthouse praised police officers for the relations they have built with communities which paid “enormous dividends” during the pandemic. John Apter added that he felt that UK policing had coped with the Covid crisis "fantastically".