Police Federation

Future thinking of mutual aid

PFEW underscores the significance of pre-deployment preparations for mutual aid and emphasises the importance of ensuring officers' wellbeing during such operations.

10 October 2023

PFEW Operational Policing Lead Steve Taylor and  Richie Murray, PFEW deputy health and safety lead
PFEW Operational Policing Lead Steve Taylor and Richie Murray, PFEW deputy health and safety lead

The session commenced with Steve Taylor, PFEW operational policing lead, emphasising the diverse nature of mutual aid deployments.

He articulated: "Mutual aid takes various forms, whether it involves deploying a small number of officers to offer support internationally or sending tens, or even hundreds, of officers to provide disaster relief in the Caribbean. Mutual aid serves as the vehicle through which our police service extends its assistance."

Steve underscored the importance of recognising mutual aid encompasses a wide range of skills beyond public order maintenance. He noted: "It covers a broad spectrum of abilities and expertise."

Reflecting on past deployments, Steve acknowledged the Federation's historical involvement in planning but pointed out challenges.

"In some recent deployments, we faced significant challenges, resulting in suboptimal planning and inconsistencies," he explained. "We had officers from 43 different forces reporting to 43 different locations, which created built-in inconsistencies."

Recognising room for improvement, Steve stated: "We realised there's an opportunity for the Federation to play a more prominent role in advocating for our members during mutual aid deployments. Key areas of concern that emerged from deployments were related to food, accommodation, and allowances, which were consistently problematic. We decided to strive for greater consistency in addressing these issues."

Learning from past experiences is integral to the Federation's approach to supporting mutual aid deployments. Steve acknowledged: "There's always room for learning when it comes to deploying Federation representatives to support mutual aid efforts."

Richie Murray, PFEW deputy health and safety lead, elaborated on the introduction of welfare vans five years ago to address critical logistical challenges during deployments.

He emphasised the importance of these vans, stating: "Welfare vans were introduced to provide essential facilities that were lacking during deployments, such as a warm place for breaks and restroom facilities. While some believe the cost of these vans should be borne by the forces, not all forces have the necessary funds. The Federation has collaborated with local forces and other parties to address this issue."

Richie acknowledged differing opinions on the Federation's role in providing welfare vans but highlighted the positive impact when they are available. He noted: "When we do provide them, it significantly contributes to prioritising the wellbeing and welfare of our officers during deployments."

Steve highlighted the Framework of Principles, which aims to establish consistency in mutual aid deployments.

He explained: “This framework, recognised by partners like the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC), streamlines the process by setting basic standards for mutual aid policing, including duty rosters, allowance guidance, and accommodation standards."

Steve emphasised the importance of proactive preparation before deployments, citing the inclusion of a "wellbeing impact assessment" in the framework.

He stated: "This assessment is beneficial for our membership, and we want to further explore and clarify what it entails."

Steve outlined the Federation's ongoing efforts to prioritise officer wellbeing during deployments.

He explained: "We aim for wellbeing to be identified early in the deployment process, with an appropriate commander assigned to oversee officers at the strategic level. We're also developing a tactical directory that covers various aspects affecting officers during deployments, from laundry provision to spare time and transportation to social events."

Richie stressed the importance of training mutual aid liaison officers (MALOs) on the ground during deployments.

He stated: "This training is essential to equip officers with the knowledge and skills needed for their roles.”

He also highlighted plans to provide training for Federation representatives and personnel from forces to enhance support for officers during deployments, emphasising a skill-based approach.

He concluded: "This training will be part of the MALO training, focusing on helping officers effectively on the ground during deployments."

Watch the session back below

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