7 December 2022
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has successfully held its largest parliamentary engagement event in recent years, speaking directly to more than 50 MPs to rally support for its core campaigns.
Today [7 December] at the House of Commons, national and local Federation reps conversed with MPs, Lords, and police and crime commissioners, including Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, Tom Pursglove MP, Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, Louie French MP, our parliamentary sponsor, former Home Secretary Priti Patel and former Policing Minister Kit Malthouse.
Productive discussions were held focussing on the pressures faced by police officers, lack of investment and the need for fair pay, conditions and recognition.
Opening the event, PFEW National Deputy Chair and Parliamentary Lead Tiff Lynch, said: “First of all, I would like to thank Louie French MP for sponsoring this event and we are extremely grateful for your continued support not only for your local Federation but for the national Federation also.
“We won’t leave here today without an ask, for you to spread the word amongst your colleagues and recognise the unique position police hold, as they continue to hold the thin blue line and service our communities 365 days a year.
“We are entering the Christmas period and it is going to be incredibly busy. Our officers are out there working extremely hard, and they are tired.
"The thin blue line is broken, and without sufficient investment in policing, officers will not be able to keep up with new technology innovations criminals use, will not be able to stretch resources to attend all crimes, and, ultimately, will not be to keep our communities safe from the rise in violent crime."
Louie French MP continued: “The Police Federation do fantastic work in representing its officers. Parliamentarians have had many successes and have made a real difference to police officers and the communities they serve, and I am sure all MPs and noble Lords will join me in passing on our thanks to the hard working and brave officers across the country.”
Campaigns championed at today’s event include:
PFEW’s pay campaign calls for an alternative to the unjust police pay review mechanism that has impacted officers for years and been the source of disputes with successive governments. We are calling for a pay rise which covers the cost-of-living crisis which ties into the Early Day Motion 547 tabled by Emma Lewell-Buck MP.
PFEW is continuing to call on the Government to create the Elizabeth Emblem - an honorary medal that will be awarded to those who work in the emergency services and are killed in the line of duty.
This would also be recognition for family and friends left behind of the sacrifice that was
made. In addition, an award such as this would be a symbol from the state to recognise the
dangers faced by emergency service workers every day.
Changes to the CPS guidance on disclosure has impeded justice and has seen victims of various crimes withdraw from active participation due to officers having to find at least an extra four hours to spend on redacting case material at the pre-charge stage.
Via its Simplify DG6 campaign, PFEW is lobbying the Government to highlight the need for amendments to the General Data Protection Regulation, Data Protection Act 2018, and the disclosure guidance itself to rectify the damaging and time-consuming problems the current legislation creates.
UK police officers rely on an exemption as Crown Servants under Section 54/55 of the
Firearms Act 1968 (FA68) to do their duty. PAVA and Taser are prohibited weapons under Sec 5 (1) (b) FA68.
There is no legal entitlement to possess a Section 5 firearm (PAVA or Taser) ‘off duty’ or ‘on call’ in between shifts. Officers have long been advised that they may remain in possession whilst ‘off duty’ or ‘on call’ to facilitate their policing work. There should be absolute clarity of what a police officer can be in possession of whilst off duty or on call and required to be in possession of a prohibited weapon under Section 5 of the Firearms Act.
The impact of lengthy police disciplinary investigations is considerable, impacting career advancement, the support they can provide colleagues and most importantly the wellbeing of the officer and their family.
We are therefore calling for a time limit of 12 months for disciplinary proceedings being brought against officers to be introduced. We do, however, accept that there are sometimes circumstances when 12 months might not be possible, but that these should be few and far between. In those cases, a Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) should provide the legal oversight, direction, and ability to terminate investigations as appropriate. We feel this is needed to ensure our members are treated fairly whilst complaints are properly investigated.
Reflecting on the success of the event, Ms Lynch added: “This morning we met with more than 50 MPs as well as police and crime commissioners at Westminster. It has been a fantastic event enabling us to raise issues faced by police officers up and down the country and push forward our campaigns, including our drive for fair pay which reflects the cost-of-living crisis, and our Medals for Heroes campaign, calling for the creation of the Elizabeth Emblem to be awarded to emergency workers killed in the line of duty.
“It has been a great success and we have a number of MPs willing to support us in the House of Commons moving forward. We will not stop here, and we will continue engaging with MPs.”
National Chair Steve Hartshorn commented: “Today has been incredibly productive and positive for the Federation, giving us the opportunity to speak to a large number of MPs to rally support for our core campaigns pushing for better terms, pay and recognition.
“We intend to hold more parliamentary engagement events to influence policing for the benefit of our members and look forward to continue working with MPs."