11 June 2021
PFEW members are set to benefit in future years to come from the many lessons learned at previous major incidents where Mutual Aid was applied.
This was the message from speakers at a Mutual Aid roundtable on the second day of PFEW’s Virtual Annual Conference, which was chaired by Clive Knight, PFEW’s Health and Safety Lead.
In a wide-ranging discussion, the panel members and delegates covered the many changes and issues involving Mutual Aid - the provision of policing assistance from one force to another - which urgently need clarifying.
These included accommodation, allowances, kit, and subsistence, while vaccinations, social distancing and Covid-secure measures were amongst the topics addressed.
PFEW National Treasurer Simon Kempton explained many members don’t get to see or understand the amount of work and pre-planning done by Fed reps about Mutual Aid.
He said: “Mutual aid is not a jolly – our members need to be valued. It’s about the Fed challenging – in some cases the planners’ assumptions are wrong, and it’s the Fed who are the useful critical friend to get the best outcome for members.
“It’s about making sure solicitors, reps and welfare support are available on the ground."
Mr Kempton said that the key to Mutual Aid was down to three main factors - “Get the money right, get the accommodation right and get the food right.” He also explained that members’ confusion over overnight allowances was commonplace, and that being away from home was not enough to qualify for the allowance.
But he added: “Mutual aid should mean overnight allowance. It’s been £50 for too long – it’s out of date. There should be a two-tier overnight allowance, and if members are held in reserve, they should get more than that.
“At PFEW, we’re not going to stop pushing the Home Office and Chiefs. It is only right members should feel valued.”
West Midlands Police Federation Chair Jon Nott revealed at the roundtable every member who will be on duty at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022 is to receive the overnight allowance.
He said: “The Fed has worked really closely with organisers, who have made officer welfare a really high priority. It’s going to be a very different style of policing - friendly, interactive, and hopefully an enjoyable event with cops posing for photos.
“At the Fed, we will go over and above with welfare vans on-site and have welfare reps on site. It’s at an early planning stage but welfare is the paramount. However, we’ll keep pushing back against the Force when we need to.”
Scottish Police Federation’s Gordon Forsyth, Assistant to the General Secretary (Health & Safety) gave an update on the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.
He said: “The ACC in charge has made it clear police welfare is the number one priority – ideally, those on duty won’t be on duty for 90 mins without a break - but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
“Those who will be in Scotland will even have the opportunity to get laundry done.”