1 August 2022
West Midlands Police are currently undertaking the biggest operation in the history of the force, as the Commonwealth Games gets underway.
The Games are being held in Birmingham between 28 July and 7 August, with tens of thousands of people either taking part or watching. The policing operation has already started, and the force has begun to welcome Mutual Aid officers and Federation reps from across the country to join its own officers.
The force is responsible for security throughout the Games and the Police Federation will be playing a major role protecting the welfare of its members during the massive operation, with Fed reps on hand 24/7. Welfare vans from Norfolk, Humberside, Hertfordshire, North Wales and Dyfed Powys are on hand to support officers policing the games. The West Midlands welfare van is out and about for those officers who are continuing the day-to-day policing of the West Midlands, with those officers undertaking 12 hour shifts to backfill the spaces of those officers and staff abstracted to the games.
West Midlands Police Federation’s Commonwealth Games lead Jon Nott said the branch was working closely with the Force to ensure snags are picked up early but warned the welfare of officers had to remain a priority.
He said: “We are aware that there are huge demands being placed on officers throughout the Games.
“They will be working long hours without many rest days in that period. Our concerns are mainly around exhaustion and burn-out because of the long shifts so we would just encourage supervisors to give breaks throughout those shifts.”
PFEW Welsh Lead, Nicky Ryan, is also in attendance at the games with the North Wales Fed reps and welfare van, and is looking forward to the coming weeks.
She said: “Every day here is a little bit different, and we are working in a city that we do not know, but the West Midlands officers are just amazing. They are so welcoming and have been very kind to us.
“The days are long and there is lots to do but being here is great and we have had some really positive feedback about the North Wales welfare van. The work will really start as the games go on, but we are very much enjoying being here.”
Speaking about the week leading up to the opening ceremony, Jon said: “There have been some teething issues but the planning team and the logistics team here at Op Unity have worked on these with us and have rectified these issues.
“We had issues with one of our accommodation blocks, but we got this sorted - we have rectified all the issues and all officers have now been accommodated. We have also secured those officers who were initially displaced with the accommodation issue the hardship allowance, as agreed with the Gold Commander.
“We are going to be really busy, but we want to ensure, where we can, that officers are being looked after when they are on duty.
“We are looking forward to deploying to the venues and enjoying the games, as well as getting out there, meeting the public and engaging with them!”
Nicky echoes this, saying: “People ask what we are here for, and the answer is everything. We will do whatever we can to fix any problems that might arise. If we can’t fix it, we will escalate the issue and take it to the highest level to seek a solution for our officers working here.
“There have been some issues along the way, but we are doing what we can to round off those edges to take away some of the pressure and prevent these becoming blockers to the work that needs to be done. It’s also about highlighting these potential problems before they become bigger and to make sure that the hard-working officers don’t have to experience any unnecessary stress.
“We are here to help, whatever that help may look like.”
Jon said the Police Federation would be available to help and support members throughout the Games.
He said: “Fed reps will be available to contact through the normal channels but any officers who have Games-specific concerns will also be able to raise them with their commanders or via the logistics operations centre.
“We will have Federation reps working closely with them to try to resolve any issues as and when they arise.”