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  1. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service ahead of the spending review. Conservative PCCs showing their support for our Protect The Protectors campaign (left to right) Julia Mulligan, David Munro and Katy Bourne. The Police Federation says its Protect The Protectors campaign was top of the agenda at a meeting with the Policing Minister and other MPs during the Conservative Party Conference. Following a similar event at the Labour Party Conference last week, a contingent of national and local PFEW representatives raised issues including the recent one per cent pay award and one per cent force-funded bonus. The Policing Minister Nick Hurd said he wanted to understand more about demand and capacity within the service and is undertaking a review of police funding ahead of the government's Spending Review later this year. The group also discussed the College of Policing's directives to bring in qualifications and accreditation to the service as well as Direct Entry and how the scheme impacts on officers. PFEW Chairman Steve White, who attended the event ahead of a roundtable meeting with Mr Hurd, said: "Of course the Federation isn't always going to agree with government and we had frank exchanges at times but we have to maintain an open dialogue with decision makers and overall it was a positive and productive meeting. "National and local representatives were able to talk and debate issues direct with the Policing Minister and other MPs and PCCs which will undoubtedly help with our work to inform and change policy for the benefit of our members." All attendees stated they are behind the Protect The Protectors campaign which calls for a specific offence to be introduced for assaulting officers or other emergency service worker and harsher sentences for those who do punch, kick or spit at officers to help as a deterrent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "My department is working with the Police Federation on its campaign to Protect The Protectors. We’ve already funded a new police welfare service, we are reviewing the law so the police can pursue the appalling thugs on mopeds who attack people on our streets and we’re also examining whether we need clearer rules so that anyone who assaults an emergency service worker faces a tougher sentence. The police protect us and it’s my job to ensure we protect them." View on Police Oracle
  2. Legal protection is not sufficient to carry out any manoeuvre a member of the public cannot and government won't listen, staff association says. The Police Federation of England and Wales has sent a letter to forces warning drivers over the lack of protection the law gives them. The staff association is warning they have barely any legal rights and should not carry out any manoeuvre that a non-police driver would not. Under existing law, emergency service workers are only permitted to ignore traffic signs and speed limits and the Fed has long said these are insufficient safeguards. The traffic sign is void if there is any element of risk to the public, and the speed limit safeguard does not stop charges of careless driving being brought. After years of highlighting the issue to politicians to no avail, the Fed has now written to forces to point out: "Officers have a sworn duty and must uphold that duty. "Officers should drive in a way which is lawful and does not contravene the laws of dangerous or careless driving. "Officers are advised not to undertake any manoeuvre which may well fall outside the standard of the careful and competent non-police driver." It adds: “A typical response or pursuit drive is likely to involve the officer contravening traffic signs and or speed limits. A course of driving involving contravention of traffic signs and speed limits is very likely to fall within the definition of careless or dangerous driving. “Officers are required by law to drive to the standard of the careful and competent driver. Not the careful and competent police driver, the careful and competent (non-police) driver. This is the standard police drivers will be held to. “There are no legal exemptions from the offences of careless or dangerous driving. Any such drives are therefore likely to be unlawful, placing the driver at risk of prosecution and proceedings for gross misconduct.” It points out its advice follows the IPCC recently directing a force to bring proceedings against an officer for gross misconduct for careless driving. The Fed would not clarify to Police Oracle which case or force this referred to, but in April Greater Manchester Police constable Simon Folwell was the subject of a similar case. PC Folwell was pursuing 24-year-old Luke Campbell, who died after crashing into another car. GMP disagreed with the watchdog’s findings but it was nevertheless directed to open proceedings against the officer. In January the Fed revealed more than 100 officers had been pursued over on duty driving matters in the preceding 18 months. In a statement, Tim Rogers, the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) lead on roads policing, said: “We are keen to remind our drivers that they should drive within the law. “Legal advice has recently highlighted that police response and pursuit drives are, in most circumstances, highly likely to fall within the definitions of careless and or dangerous driving. “The Federation has raised this matter with numerous MPs but to date the difficulties remain with our proposed draft for legislative change not yet having been progressed to a point where officers are appropriately protected.” View on Police Oracle
  3. Chairman described it as "political interference" in operational decisions. Sarah Johnson reacted furiously to the announcement The chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation is “beyond angry” with the force after it announced it would not “rush in” to using spit guards. Sarah Johnson accused Gloucestershire Police, as well as the police and crime commissioner, of “interfering in operational policing decisions” following the announcement on Wednesday. Ms Johnson claimed the force breached an agreement already in place when Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl intervened. She said: “Protecting police officers from being spat at is paramount. We had an agreement in place in force to begin a trial of spit guards in custody suites. And now this had been put on hold following an intervention by PCC Martin Surl. “Our members will rightly be asking why he is getting involved in operational policing decisions, which are a matter for the Chief Constable. “Police officers will also be left feeling that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the force are basically saying it is ok for people to spit at them.” Ms Johnson said she would be taking the matter up urgently with both the force and the office of the PCC as she believes every officer in Gloucestershire should have one. She continued: “Spitting at a police officer is horrible but then there is also the potential that – should the spit go in their mouths – there will be sometimes up to a six month programme whereby officers have to be tested and maybe take drugs to make sure that they haven’t contracted a contagious disease. “This means that the officers may not be able to be intimate with their family, might not be able to cuddle their children or might not be able to visit ill relatives, so it’s not only the impact on that day, it’s for a long time thereafter. “A lot of stress and worry comes with that.” PCC Surl insists he is “yet to be convinced” spit guards are an effective solution. He said: “I know from personal experience that any attack on officers carrying out their duties is completely unacceptable, and that extra protection is sometimes necessary. But the use of spit guards has caused controversy in other parts of the country with claims they breach suspects’ rights and could even be dangerous. “The chief constable and I are in total agreement that the safety of our staff is paramount, but I am yet to be convinced that spit guards are the answer. “This is a highly emotive issue that should not be rushed into without public engagement and any other consultation that may be appropriate.” More than half of Police Federation members across the country are in favour of spit guards, as is the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Gloucestershire Chief Constable Rod Hansen says “pause for thought” is the ideal path forward. He said: “This is an issue that divides opinion even within the service. Some regard them as a necessary and an essential restraint; others see them as impractical and maybe even inflammatory. “We already have the power to use reasonable force against citizens when it is deemed appropriate. If we can find a solution that suits everyone, including my officers and staff as well as for suspects, all of whom I have a duty of care towards, then further pause for thought is the right course to take”. View on Police Oracle
  4. Steve White says government is playing 'perverse game of risk with policing'. Police Fed Chairman Steve White The police service needs a five-year funding strategy to take “the politics out of policing” Police Federation Chairman Steve White told Home Secretary Amber Rudd today. In a wide-ranging keynote speech at the Police Federation of England and Wales 2017 annual conference in Birmingham, Mr White also accused the government of playing a “perverse game of risk with policing” by slashing officer numbers and the service’s budget. There was also applause when he jokingly suggested handing over the protection of Parliament to private security firm G4S. He said: “We cannot do it all. So let us make the changes needed. “We either invest or we divest. Put more resources in or take demand out. They are the only options. “Stop dealing with drug use perhaps and decriminalise Class C drugs? Leave policing the roads to Serco? Leave missing people to the experts in missing parcels, the Royal Mail? I know, let’s hand over the protection of parliament to G4S… “In its report, HMIC also said, and I quote ‘We cannot realistically expect the police to meet every possible demand we might make of them’.” Mr White started by reiterating his view that policing was too big an issue to be used by politicians as a way of scoring party political points. He said: “Policing is too important to be a political football and we look to politicians to raise the debate to where it needs to be. Front and centre. Fair and square. Listening to the public. The electorate. “And as the Prime Minister decided to skip the electoral cycle, please do the same. “Take a long term, unpolitical view of policing. “Whilst the world will move on, if you have a five-year parliament, give the police a five year funding strategy. Why not? “After all, politics and politicians will move on, but policing, its officers and people’s safety will always be needed. “No matter who is in government. “Put policing before politics, put the people before politics, and put those who pledge to serve before politics.” Mr White warned the service was in dire need of further support saying it was in ‘intensive care’. He added: “We are a service that wants to deliver what the public want, when they want it and how they want it - 24 hours a day: 365 days a year. “But this is getting impossible. In the last year we have seen a further loss of approximately 3,000 police officers. “Home Secretary, it is like me telling everyone in your own constituency of Hastings and Rye that every single police officer in Sussex is to go. “So, 3,000 is not just a number. “It is much, much more than that. It is 3,000 fewer police officers patrolling and protecting communities, 3,000 fewer cops investigating crimes and supporting vulnerable victims, 3,000 fewer tackling cyber-crime, dealing with historic offences and tackling the atrocities of terrorism. A sorry total of 20,000 police officers over the last four years. “That is not just uniformed officers. In its PEEL report HMIC referred to the shortage of qualified detectives as a ‘crisis’. “A crisis that we don’t have enough police officers to deal with the demands placed upon the service. “On March 22, we lost one of our own as he fought to stop a terrorist at the heart of British democracy. “In the past we used to say ‘Not if, but when’. “The reality now is that it is, ‘Not when, but where next’. “Policing is on its knees. It is in intensive care. It is fighting for its life.” The theme for this year’s conference is Protect the Protectors – the Fed’s recently launched campaign – with Mr White demanding those convicted of assaulting police officers are hit with harder sentences. He said: “Many expressed support for a change to see harsher sentences for those convicted of assaulting officers. “And so, today I ask you and every politician seeking to be elected – can we have a firm commitment to make this happen. “No more excuses about timetabling. No more excuses about process or protocol. “We have clearly seen that when the Prime Minister and your parliamentary colleagues want something – it happens not in months, in weeks. “We want a commitment that you will give the police officers of England and Wales the support and protection needed to do their job. “When she was Home Secretary, the Prime Minister told us we should have a single mission – to fight crime. “We said it then, and I say it again now, policing is so much more than just fighting crime. “Tell the family of a suicidal man with mental health issues making threats to end his life that it’s the NHS they need; it’s not one for the police. “Tell the elderly victim of a burglary seeking comfort and reassurance that time is money and the job of the police is to fight crime and capture an offender, rather than counsel them as a victim. “Home Secretary, you cannot put a price on the value of policing. “And no government can cut tens of thousands of police officers and expect us to pretend that it won’t make a difference.” Mr White said the federation remained “gravely concerned” that, under current legislation, officers are not being afforded adequate protection during police pursuits. He told the audience the current test of what is dangerous driving is outdated, misinterpreted and “downright ridiculous at worst” in the way it applies to police officers. Talking about the criminals, he added: “And they drive off laughing as they kill another innocent bystander or police officer. “We want to ensure that, if a situation arises where an officer, doing their duty, has to engage in a response or pursuit in a police vehicle, that they are not unfairly processed through the court.” On police pay, Mr White outlined how some officers were struggling to survive on their salaries, saying changes were badly needed. “Remove the shackles from the Police Remuneration Review Body,” he told Mrs Rudd. “Allow them to take the evidence we provide – full and detailed analysis – and decide for themselves what pay award officers should receive. “Allow them their independence. “Do not pretend it is an open and transparent process if you are tying their hands by setting a one per cent cap for any public sector increase. “I see some benefits of the pay review body in the detailed recommendations they make on a number of issues. “I see how they listen to what we say. “How they take our evidenced submission and make recommendations in a number of areas, using information we provide. “But I also understand that, for the men and women out there policing today, they just see what their annual pay increment is. “And understandably, they question the point and purpose of the review body if its hands are tied behind its back. “I ask, what is it with politicians and maths? “For every MP last year must have misread the one per cent pay cap. Perhaps they were seeing double, giving themselves 11 per cent instead.” Mr White paid tribute to the six officers who had died in the line of duty in the last year (PC Austin Jackson, Leicestershire Constabulary, PC Paul Briggs, Merseyside Police, Inspector Mark Estall, Essex Police, PC Joe Mabuto, Thames Valley Police, PC Gareth Browning, Metropolitan Police and PC Keith Palmer, Metropolitan Police) before outlining the Federation’s requests. He said: “We want a national system of welfare provision for police officers, we want legal protections for officers doing their job, the right protective equipment for officers, no further budget cuts and an immediate halt in the reduction of officer numbers. “We want a long-term five-year investment to build the numbers up to provide the resilience needed and to allow the service to continue to deliver. A progressive culture and an open environment where the police service learns from its mistakes. “And finally, we want a government that supports the police. “Not just in words. “In actions too. All we ask is that government does its duty too. And protects the protectors.” View on Police Oracle
  5. Most powerful group's officials say they question the continued benefit of being part of the staff association. The Met Police Federation is considering splitting from the national staff association The largest and most powerful branch in the Police Federation of England and Wales is looking at breaking away from the rest of the staff association, Police Oracle can reveal. The Metropolitan Police Federation is examining its options after reps became increasingly frustrated with how the national organisation is run. The issue has come to the fore just days before the association’s annual conference takes place in Birmingham. Met Fed Chairman Ken Marsh confirmed to Police Oracle the branch has been carrying out scoping work on the possibility. Among the issues he says have prompted the move are the pace of the Normington reforms – especially in relation to finance - and the associated costs of spending on consultants. He also said the negotiating power of the Met might be greater if it was its own entity, arguing for things such as an increase in London Weighting. “All I’ve ever wanted since I took over is to provide a good service to cops. I think we have done that locally in the Met, I don’t think we get that from the PFEW,” he said. The branch is by far the largest within the Police Federation and generates a significant proportion of its income. On Thursday afternoon chairman Steve White sent an email to reps at its national board and national council telling them rumours have been circulating about a Met Fed breakaway. With it, he attached a letter he had sent to Met Fed officials requesting they clarify their position. In the email Mr White said: “I did not want a situation going into conference where we were distracted from the important business of protecting the protectors by unsubstantiated rumour. “I have asked the question on behalf of the organisation and we will get a reply.” After the email was forwarded to Police Oracle, our reporter contacted Mr Marsh who said he had now been put in a position where he may as well speak about the issue. “We’ve been scoping it for quite a while. Twelve sergeants sat at a [meeting] and asked Paul [Deller, general secretary] and I to scope it,” he said. “The Met Police Federation is a bigger organisation than Scotland and Northern Ireland. They are not part of PFEW, Wales might not be when they get devolution, and we’re bigger than them.” Among his frustrations is the money held in local branch accounts, or so-called “number two” accounts, which Sir David Normington identified in 2014 as needing to be published. A recent checklist published by the national Fed describes this reform as “complete”, however the regulation is yet to be updated by the Home Office. Mr Marsh said: “We want to be in a position where it’s all for one and one for all, but we are not going to be part of something where we hand over £8 million from our reserves when there’s little forces keeping millions in reserves and carparks and everything else.” Mr White’s email also says: “I understand discussions have included ways to circumvent the current position that this would not be supported by the Home Secretary. I know that you will be aware of how damaging rumour can be.” Mr Marsh says while he would prefer for the changes to be made via regulations through the Home Office, other methods may be possible – such as withholding payment from the national body, and said he thinks the plan might have political supporters. “We haven’t got anything to lose from this, unlike the rest of the country if they lost the Met,” he said. In his letter to the Met officials, which was forwarded to Police Oracle on Friday morning, Mr White said the branch is important to him. “As we near the completion of the review and as we get to grips with a new way of managing our collective finance, to provide best value for our members, I know that the Metropolitan Federation view is one shared by many in relation to “number 2” accounts and the like. I am certain that by working together we can resolve these issues. “The Metropolitan Federation is hugely important and influential and should be front and centre in helping the organisation change for the better. I want to know how I can help to give you confidence that this is the case, and reassure you of the importance that attach to every constituent part of the Police Federation of England and Wales,” he said. In a recent interview with Police Oracle, national general secretary Andy Fittes said he was happy with the work done so far but stressed the “complicated process” cannot be rushed. He was hitting back at sentiments from Greater Manchester and Hampshire Fed chairmen who criticised the time the process was taking, and the money being spent on consultants. View on Police Oracle