17 March 2023
Last week the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) was invited to take part in a week-long feature on Talk TV to discuss the various roles within policing with presenter Ian Collins.
With so much negativity in the media contributing to the decline in public confidence in policing and frustrating those officers who do their utmost to protect and serve their communities, it felt the right time to educate and acknowledge the positives, which generally get overlooked.
With there being so many areas of policing, several guests joined PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn, to talk about their relevant roles, experiences and what it takes to be a police officer.
“It's very physical. It's also mentally quite exhausting when you're having to concentrate and focus on the threat in hand, in front of you before deciding whether you squeeze the trigger, because potentially you’re going to take someone’s life.”
Mr Hartshorn also went on to explain how the Federation offers legal support to officers that are under investigation and why it is important for not just the officer in question, but also how it protects the victims.
He brought to light some of the challenges around the Data Protection Act which is adding more pressure to the role and highlighted the importance of our Simplify DG6 campaign as the Federation works towards solving these issues with key stakeholders including the CPS.
“Detectives and investigating officers are having to spend far more time sitting at desks across policing in order to redact personal information, in order to give it to the CPS, because we don't have a gateway to them like other people do within data protection.”
Sharing some astonishing data, she said: “Last year, special constables volunteered over two and a half million hours to policing in England and Wales, which equates to just over 61 and a half million pounds.”
“One of the things I actually love is I don't know what I am going to be doing. It's fantastic. It's incredibly diverse and we can be dealing with any aspect of policing.”
Last but not least, Friday’s show featured Belinda Goodwin, PFEW National Board member and wellbeing lead, who touched on the sensitive areas around the mental health of officers, and what the Federation is doing to support, and help implement better provisions across the service – especially when it comes to processing trauma.
“We are six to 700 times more likely to be exposed to trauma than a civilian and it’s how we deal with that on a day-to-day basis”, she revealed. “We are dealing with death and the grisliest incidents. It is about that trauma collection and how we assist officers going forward with regards to dealing with that trauma and what’s the best way that we can.”
Wrapping up the interview, Belinda reached out: “If you are struggling, please, please speak to someone. Speaking to someone is the first step forward. Find out who your workplace rep is, they will be able to pinpoint you. We do have Occupational Health Departments within forces which are getting better, and we are working on that as PFEW, with the Home Office, to ensure the standards are there.
“Let’s not forget, physical and mental health are the same, just in different parts of your body, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
All in all, a very positive and inspiring feature, allowing members to have their say and to demonstrate why policing is such a rewarding role, though very challenging.
Finally, a warm thank you to Talk TV and to Ian Collins, for allowing PFEW the opportunity to use their platform to showcase the many areas of policing in a positive light, one that is rarely seen.
For episodes head over to our YouTube Channel.