5 August 2022
Throughout the last two weeks of the Commonwealth Games, Federation representatives from across England and Wales have been on hand to offer support and advice to officers policing what is the largest event to be staged in Birmingham.
West Midlands Police Federation’s Commonwealth Games lead Jon Nott, who has been involved in the planning of the Games since late 2019, said: “The welfare vans have been really popular with officers. What has been really impressive is that reps have also been filling up rucksacks and going out on foot to ensure that they can get drinks and snacks to officers who are at points that are inaccessible to the vans.
“They really have done as much as they can to ensure officers are looked after.”
Jon also remarked on the fact that officers seem to be enjoying the deployment.
“All too often when you have officers involved in mutual aid operations, they are there because there are public order concerns. But that has not been the case with this event; it has been a real family-friendly atmosphere,” he explained.
“Officers have also commented that it has been like a return to good old-fashioned policing. During the austerity years, our numbers declined and officers were not getting out on the streets, patrolling and engaging with the public. Then we have had the pandemic and that also impacted on our ability to get involved in our communities.
“Many officers have said how much they have enjoyed being back out on the streets, meeting people, talking to visitors and building relations.”
The Federation has also worked with the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) to ensure that all officers involved in policing the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are paid the same allowances.
Officers should all receive £100 for any days when they are off duty but held in reserve so that they can be called back to duty if required.
Jon said: “Being held in reserve will, of course, cause some inconvenience to officers involved in this operation”
“While officially on leave, they can’t really go very far, have a drink or properly relax as they know they could be called upon to return to work with just a few hours’ notice.
“For this reason, officers held in reserve are paid £100 to compensate them for any inconvenience. With a policing operation of this size, our own Force has relied on officers travelling to the West Midlands as part of mutual aid. This means that we have officers from various forces here and we wanted to ensure that all chief constables are paying their officers the same allowances.
“We have been liaising with NPoCC and have been assured that the chief constables have confirmed this is the case.”
Jon added: “We will be monitoring this situation as officers receive their next salary payments.”
Welsh Lead, Nicky Ryan said:
“It’s been a fantastic experience working here the last few weeks. The welfare vans have been well received. Many of the initial issues that we had around food and accommodation were ironed out quickly.
“We are aware that we haven’t been able to get to all of the officers, or as many as we would like, as we have experienced some tricky days trying to get through all of the security as some officers are in specially accredited areas. We have worked really hard at trying to send stuff into them to make sure they are looked after. I think this is definitely a learning for us all for next time and is something we need to consider.
"We have particularly enjoyed welcoming the special constables and have been on hand to remind them that they are joining us as fully fledged members and they get all of the same benefits as their regular colleagues. We are very pleased to have them join PFEW and look forward to working with them at events like this in the future.
“The atmosphere over the last two weeks has been incredible. West Midlands officers, staff and volunteers have been so welcoming and we have loved being here and working alongside everyone involved to make the games a success.
“It’s been so interesting and inspiring getting to meet officers from different forces and share stories and experiences. Events like this make you realise the variety and diversity of people that we have in policing, in terms of ages, backgrounds, experiences, cultures and nationalities and you realise we are all doing the same job but in a very different ways.
“I have enjoyed working at the Commonwealth Games and am grateful to everyone who has engaged with us at the van and who has helped make this such a rewarding and enjoyable event.”
Jon added: “I want to pay thanks to all of the reps from around the country to help look after the welfare of our officers. My sincere thanks and gratitude to them.”