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11 September 2020
The new Police Covenant is a positive step, but it needs to be “more than just words”, the Chair of Surrey Police Federation has said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced this week that a Police Covenant will be enshrined in law. It follows a campaign by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) for a Covenant, and will ensure the welfare of officers, police staff and their families is placed under regular Parliamentary scrutiny.
Ms Patel also announced the results of the public consultation, which found more than 90% of respondents backed Government plans for a Covenant.
The Covenant applies to serving and former police personnel and creates a statutory duty for forces to support police officers. It will focus on protection, health and wellbeing, and support for families. The Home Secretary will also have to report annually to Parliament.
Melanie Warnes, Chair of Surrey Police Federation, said: “The Police Covenant needs to be more than just words. But it is obviously positive to have such support from the Home Secretary.
“The wellbeing of officers, whether those serving or retired, is paramount, and the force should have a responsibility for this and have to report directly to the Government.”
PFEW Chairman John Apter said: “What I would expect the Police Covenant to focus on is police officers, police staff and their families – it’s really important that we don’t forget their families – about the training they receive, about the support they receive, around not only physical injuries but also mental health issues, because so often the invisible injuries have been forgotten and ignored. This Covenant needs teeth.”
He told officers: “I can promise you this – we will work tirelessly to make sure that the Police Covenant is more than just a poster on the wall or just a document that gathers dust. It’s got to mean something to you and your families.”