17 May 2022
The welfare of officers should be at the forefront of mutual aid operations from the start.
That was the view of the panel during the Mutual Aid: a postcode lottery for members session at the Police Federation of England & Wales Annual Conference 2022.
National Treasurer Simon Kempton was joined by National Board member Steve Taylor, Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington and NPoCC Strategic Lead Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill for a session exploring the challenges the Federation has faced and how these have been overcome.
Delegates were told there is a need to help understand the issues faced by planning teams and to help members address the frustration they might feel on deployment.
Simon Kempton said: “Mutual aid is becoming so prevalent - it is important we get this right for our members and also the public.”
ACC Weatherill added: “We need to show the public a unified front, one that shows we work well together, and this is a testament of the professionalism for everyone that is deployed.”
The panel agreed the welfare of officers should be front and centre of mutual aid operations.
Steve Taylor highlighted that policing has shown improvement in the way it deals with issues around accommodation, food and welfare of mutual aid operations - but added there is always room to improve. He said: “With these planning operations, being involved from the early stages will allow lessons learned from previous deployments, around accommodation standards, food provision and the wellbeing of our officers, not to be repeated again.
“We need to understand that many, if not all of our members, are volunteers and the public won’t see that. So, we need to make sure that our volunteers are taken care of whilst they take care of us.”
The panel went on to discuss a new framework, looking at existing rules and regulations and identifying areas that need more work as the current regulations are not fit for purpose.
CC Harrington added: “There needs to be clarity from the get-go for people who will be going on deployments.
“If the officers who are deployed are well taken care of, you will see that moral lift.”