90 days from today is Mon, 17 January 2022
14 July 2021
Surrey MPs the Police Federation has spoken to are “very supportive” of the issues police officers are facing.
Chair Mel Warnes (pictured), along with Surrey Roads Policing Unit officer Joe McGregor, held a virtual meeting with MPs Jonathan Lord, Chris Grayling and Crispin Blunt, as well as a representative for MP Dominic Raab on Wednesday 14 July.
The MPs started by offering their sincere thanks to Surrey Police officers for all their hard work over the pandemic, and also in their day-to-day policing duties.
One of the main topics discussed was the importance of protecting police drivers and how the upcoming Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was a positive step forwards. Mel said: “The general feeling was that the Bill was very much supported by the MPs there today.”
She continued: “PC McGregor was able to speak to the MPs about driver training and how that related to the Bill. That gives them that police perspective, when you’re listening to someone who’s knowledgeable in the role.”
They also talked about the new Police Covenant and how it will support officers and their families, as Mel said: “It’s not completely clear at the moment”.
She said: “Chris Grayling said he sees the covenant as something that’s really positive. He said that society has to start remembering that police are human beings as well.”
Meanwhile Jonathan Lord spoke about how the Military Covenant had made a genuine difference to people’s lives and he hoped the police covenant would have a similar effect for officers.
Another issue Surrey Police Federation and the MPs agreed on was that policing shouldn’t be a degree-only profession.
Mel said: “I said I knew we were losing good police officers because of the university aspect. They’re either not able to complete the work, or failing assessments and can therefore no longer be in the programme, or they spend so much time on their days off doing university work that their family life is suffering.
“The MPs, especially Chris Grayling and Jonathan Lord, agreed that they don’t think policing should be a degree-only profession. Jonathan Lord said he would be having conversations with the Policing Minister about the matter.”
The Police Federation’s ‘Time Limits’ campaign also came up for discussion - as Mel shared an example of a Surrey Police officer who is still under investigation by the IOPC two and a half years after an incident - adding that the Crown Prosecution Service had been looking at the case since last September and still hadn’t made a charging decision.
Lastly Mel emphasised the reality of what the officer uplift means for Surrey Police. She told the MPs that despite the increase in officers, the numbers leaving the profession meant that new recruits were spread thinly across the force.
She said: “I wanted the MPs to be aware of what it means for our numbers. In 18 months we’ve had an increase of 170 officers. Learning and Development say we’ve had 350 new student officers join, but the increase is 170 because we’ve had resignations, retirements, and people transferring to other forces.
“Of course every little helps, but that increase equates to, on average, 15 more officers per borough. When you look at how many teams those officers are spread across, it still means high workloads. Officers are incredibly busy and very tired having policed the pandemic.”
Mel said she felt the meeting had been fruitful and said she looked forward to meeting with Surrey MPs again soon, hopefully in person at Westminster.