Author Archives: Alan Bell

End of Tri-Force

The joint agreement with Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Constabularies Specialist Operations will be finishing in Spring 2019. For the past few years, we have collaborated with those Forces sharing the deployment, training and certain aspects of control with firearms, roads policing and dogs. It was hoped it would bring cost savings to the respective forces at a time when the Comprehensive Spending Review demanded cuts in policing.

Concerns were raised from the beginning by the Respective Federations and each has been working tirelessly to assist each of the Forces in attempting to resolve the concerns which were raised. Some cost savings were achieved but we felt it struggled with supporting its officers in a number of different aspects such as excessive hours, continually backfilling vacancies in the other Forces and a haphazard approach to HR functions. Over the past few years a number of different reviews and a considerable amount of work has been completed in trying to move the collaboration forward, but this has proved to be a task too far for some.

During the past few months’ notice to terminate the existing agreement was given and there was a real desire to agree a new “Host Force” Collaboration. Such a move was always supported by Avon and Somerset Federation, which it hoped would bring greater protection of the officers and enhanced well-being with support from certain business areas, such as a single Resource Unit and working practices.

It is now apparent that an agreement cannot be reached and as such we support the decision to restore the Specialist Operations solely back to the communities of Avon and Somerset. Andy Roebuck, Avon and Somerset Chair, who had spent a number of years on Specialist Operations and Tri- Force said, “We have always supported such collaborations, as we felt there was a benefit to our communities and to the staff. However, since its inauguration we have been met with a number of concerns and a lack in ability to resolve a magnitude of staff worries. This impacted on the ability of officers being deployed in the Avon and Somerset areas. We agree that Avon and Somerset Constabulary has attempted to push this collaboration forward, but we are now left supporting the decision that has been made. We will work with the Constabulary to ensure the staff are returned to their respective business areas in a fair and proportionate way”.

Avon and Somerset Winner at National Federation Awards

A former Avon and Somerset detective based in North East Investigations, has won the overall Regional Recognition Award for making an outstanding contribution to detective policing at the Police Federation National Detective’s forum in Manchester on the 11th October 2018.

Former Detective Constable Chris Williams was nominated for her work in child protection as well as exemplary work with victims during her 37-year police career. She retired in August but plans to return to Avon and Somerset as a member of police staff, working as a major crime investigating officer.

Her achievement follows her success at the prestigious BAWP (British Association for Women in Policing) awards event held in Coventry in June. She finished runner-up in the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Performance and Inspirational Woman category.

The Police Federation Awards recognises the very best of detective policing throughout England and Wales and forms part of a two-day seminar for detective Representatives, organised by the National Detectives’ Forum. Chris was awarded the overall Regional Recognition Award from a shortlist of impressive regional winners drawn from throughout England and Wales. She was recognised for “her unrelenting passion and dedication to safeguard children from abuse. She has given vulnerable victims the confidence and courage to speak out.”

Det Supt Marie Wright of Avon and Somerset Investigations, said: “I am so thrilled that Chris has won this award. She is one of the most dedicated child protection detectives that I have known and her 37 years’ service is an indication of her commitment to protecting the most vulnerable people in our community.

“Chris is a true professional and has always put the victim first, ensuring that they have a voice. She works with them to achieve what they want at what is often the most terrible time of their life.

“Chris remained as enthusiastic and motivated as she was when she joined the police. She has mentored and developed a number of colleagues over the years and has a great working relationship with our key partners.

“She has been a credit to my team and Avon and Somerset Police and winning this prestige national award from the Police Federation is duly deserved. If I was a victim of crime I would want Chris to work with me in her unique way – sensitive, caring and professional. That’s Chris!”

Andy Roebuck, Federation Council Chair, said: “This is a great honour for Chris and for Avon and Somerset Police. Her dedicated and professional work spanning 37 years is a real credit to her and demonstrates the inspirational role she has with her colleagues.

“Chris has moved through so many changes in detective career and her ability to adapt, remain enthusiastic and focused on the victim is a real credit to her as a detective. This is well-deserved and something that Chris and her family should be extremely proud of.”

Officer cleared of any wrongdoing at Gross Misconduct Hearing

PC Claire Boddie appeared before a Gross Misconduct Hearing for failing to warn an Individual before drawing and using a Taser. She was cleared of any wrong doing on all counts.

The outcome today ends 18 months of uncertainty for Claire her family and friends. Police Officers are accountable for their decisions and expect there will be occasions when they will come under scrutiny. Too often the scrutiny is with the benefit of hindsight against a backdrop of a blame culture. Claire has had been subjected to a criminal investigation and trial where she was acquitted. As soon as that process finished, the IOPC announced she was still to face a Gross Misconduct hearing based on the same evidence. The Constabulary agreed, and these proceedings took place. Claire is relieved that the Panel decided that she had no case to answer.

Claire has been subject to negative comments on social media, her photograph displayed in the local press and individuals saw fit to put up pictures of the incident across Bristol clearly intent on undermining race relations with the Police. Race never played a part in this incident by Claire or the other Officer and we are disappointed it was made a key component by some outside of these proceedings. This incident could have been resolved in minutes if only the other party had simply given them his name.

The public rightly expect Police Officers to stop and question those they suspect are wanted for criminal offences. Clearly this was a case of mistaken identity and it is important to learn from mistakes. We do not feel a public trial and public Gross Misconduct hearing demonstrates that there was any other intention than to find her accountable for what happened that day.

Claire is also grateful for the support of her colleagues and would like to put this matter behind her so she can continue to serve the community.

Home Office seeks Officer’s views

Dear colleagues,

The Home Office has launched a Review this week giving frontline officers an opportunity to share their ideas on how policing can be improved at a national level. What they choose to do with it is another matter!

The Review is seeking members’ views on – wellbeing, professional development, leadership, and innovation. The aim of the project is to provide recommendations that will influence workforce reform activity nationally. The Review will not address officer pay and resourcing.

Throughout August and September the Home Office has arranged online forums for members to voice their views, via Twitter using #WeCops and through the College of Policing’s POLKA network. Face-to-face activity will commence late October.

The first engagement opportunities relate to wellbeing:

– 20-26 August – on POLKA – questions posted to the Knowledge Bank Community Forum relating to the wellbeing

– 29 August at 9pm – on Twitter – #WeCops discussion on wellbeing

Please note: members will need to sign in to POLKA from their work accounts to engage in this way. Discussions will be hosted on the Knowledge Bank Community Discussion page, accessible after sign in.

Ability to buy-back pension contributions

Dear Colleague

The Police Pension Schemes and Additional Voluntary Contributions (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2018.

There have been recent changes to the above Regulations and these include:

The buy-back of unpaid family leave

Provisions relating to the Voluntary Exit Scheme (We don’t have this in our Force)

Provisions to the Added Voluntary Contribution Scheme Linked to the Police Pension Scheme 1987.

Buy-Back of Unpaid Family Leave

Following representations from the Federation, pension regulations have been amended, as previously those in the 1987 (PPS) and 2006 (NPPS), could only buy-back periods of unpaid maternity leave and unpaid parental leave for pension purposes. Now the following types of leave are included:

Unpaid Adoption Leave.
Unpaid Ordinary Adoption Support Leave.
Unpaid Additional Adoption Support Leave.
Unpaid Ordinary Maternity Support Leave.
Unpaid additional Maternity Support Leave.

The provisions are retrospective, so they apply if you have taken the above types of unpaid leave on or after 1st September 2014.

If you are in the 2015 CARE scheme, you are already able to buy-back contributions with all of these leave types.

If you do wish to buy-back for pension purposes, you must notify the Police Pension Authority in writing. In this Force, this is Mark Milton. You will be required to pay an amount equal to the amount of pension contributions which would have been paid had the period of unpaid leave not been taken.

As the provisions are retrospective you have up to and including the 21st August 2018 to elect to buy-back.

Unpaid Maternity Support Leave

If you have taken the above and that will predominately be men, then again following representations from the Federation, the Home Office has agreed that if you have taken this type of leave from 3rd April 2011 to 1st September 2014, you can buy-back contributions. Again you must make a written election to the Police Pension Authority and this should be done by 21st August 2018.

Additional Voluntary Contributions

The Police Pension (Additional Voluntary Contributions) Regulations 1991 have been amended to allow for the additional flexibilities available to Members wishing to access their defined contributions pensions. For further information regarding this please read Home Office Circular 7/2016.

Should you wish to buy-back contributions, as well as writing to the Police Pension Authority, I would be grateful if you could contact the Federation Office on 01278 647085, to complete a short questionnaire which will enable us nationally to determine how many people have been affected.