Category Archives: Local News

Local news and updates from the Chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Federation.

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John Apter or Phill Matthews

​Two candidates have put themselves forward to be National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales: John Apter and Phill Matthews

The National Chair plays a key role in the National Federation, ensuring the welfare and interests of members are at the heart of the services we provide, acting as principal spokesperson, and representing the organisation on a national level.

Find out more about the candidates and read their election statements on PFEW’s ‘National Chair candidates’ page. Please take time to consider what both Candidates have already achieved as this is the first time you have had a say in who is the voice of the Federation.

Information on how to vote is currently being sent directly to members’ PNN email addresses – all members, subscribing or non-subscribing, are eligible to vote. If you or your colleagues haven’t received your voting code by Monday 16 July, please email your full name, force and warrant number to support@mi-voice.com.

News that overnight allowance is to be paid to all those eligible officers who will be working away from home as part of the policing operation for the American presidential visit has been welcomed.
 
Simon Kempton, Police Federation of England and Wales’ lead on mutual aid said the news was positive, albeit should have been made at the outset of the planning process.
 
“The Federation has worked hard, nationally and at local level, to put forward a reasoned and balanced case to chief officers as to why officers should all be treated fairly and in these circumstances be paid the allowance.
 
“It is positive that those arguments have now been listened to, albeit disappointing that this was not recognised at the outset. There was disparity across the country in the approaches being taken and that caused anger and only leads to feelings of resentment. Time and time again officers have their days off cancelled, work over their hours and away from home. This has an impact on their home life, their families, and the health and wellbeing of officers themselves, so the very least that should be done is that they are paid and recognised in a fair way.”
 
The paying of overnight allowance (£50 per night) requires an officer to meet certain criteria and is laid down in police regulations. It is not automatically compensated if an officer is forced to be away from home because of a work deployment. In order to qualify an officer must be held in reserve; and to be deemed to be ‘held in reserve’ and officer must:

a) be away from their normal place of duty
b) be required to stay in a ‘particular, specified place’ overnight, rather than being allowed home
c) by reason of the need be ready for immediate deployment.

The last criteria ‘be ready for immediate deployment’ has been a moot point and open to interpretation which has meant that some officers were previously not going to be paid the allowance, despite logistical reasons meaning there would be no way they could return home.

 “Simply put, this has been about officers getting paid what they deserve and us being able to represent you with chiefs to get a fairer deal, and we as a federation have worked hard behind the scenes to achieve that.” added Mr Kempton.

Mutual Aid and 12 Hour working.

As you will have seen, the Force has been asked to provide mutual aid due to Donald Trumps visit, this has a significant knock on effect for those left behind as well as those tasked with the Mutual Aid.

This will be a testing and exhausting time for all, as day to day activity continues. We are in dialogue with the Force, at a Local Level and Nationally, over various issues and if you have any concerns, please raise them through your Line Manager.

Federation queries can be raised through the force email system with the email address circulated internally this morning.

AVON AND SOMERSET CONSTABULARY OFFICERS WANT BETTER ACCESS TO TASER, SURVEY SHOWS

74 per cent of officers at Avon and Somerset Constabulary would like to have access to Taser at all times on duty, a Police Federation of England and Wales’ survey has found.

The study explored officers’ views on firearms, examining the level of satisfaction with their current access to armed support, and their views on routine arming and other protective measures and equipment.

The survey found that in Avon and Somerset Constabulary:

  • 74 per cent of respondents (for whom it is applicable to their role) want access to Taser at all times on duty;
  • 54 per cent of respondents’ lives had been in serious danger at least once in the last two years;
  • 68 per cent of respondents were not satisfied that armed support would be readily available should they require it; and
  • 28 per cent of respondents personally supported the idea of routine arming.

The findings follow comments from Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who last month voiced support for Taser, calling it “an important tactical option for officers dealing with the most serious and violent criminals”, when speaking at the Federation’s national conference.

Andy Roebuck, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “It’s no coincidence that 74%  of our officers questioned want access to Taser at all times, while just over half of those same officers’ lives have been in serious danger in the last two years.

Officers are also concerned about the proportionate response of armed officers and the Tri-Force capability. There is a review ongoing and we hope the concerns are listened and reflected in the new proposals”.

“Taser is an extremely effective means of dealing with the many dangerous situations that officers often face and is a less lethal option than more conventional firearms. In 80 per cent of cases where Taser is drawn, it is not fired as the deterrent is enough, which helps protect communities as well as protecting officers from assaults.

The Police Federation of England and Wales is continuing to call for improved access to equipment for officers through its Protect the Protectors campaign. The campaign seeks to safeguard the physical and mental well being of police officers, ensuring they have the right protective tools and equipment and calling for tougher sentences for those who assault police officers and other emergency services.

Direct Entry Detectives Not The Answer!

The secretary of the Police Federation’s National Detective Forum Karen Stephens has warned a new direct entry scheme is not the answer to the crisis facing detective policing.

Her comments come in response to the Home Office’s announcement that it is to launch a new national accelerated scheme, led by Police Now, which will deliver training within 12 weeks and introduce 1,000 detectives over the next five years.

Ms Stephens said: “This news is an insult to the experienced hard-working detectives that we have left in service.

Detective policing is in crisis and our colleagues are struggling to cope with heavy workloads and increasing demand but another ‘direct entry scheme’ is not the answer.

“The service and the public deserve better than detective officers who will be trained ‘in a matter of months’. Let’s not forget that detective officers deal with the most depraved and complex of crimes – this requires experience. Also, new, inexperienced detectives will require a lot of supervision, putting extra pressure on those already in service.
 
“What about encouraging officers we already have in service to move into investigative policing? What about making detective policing a desired career choice? What about listening to the practitioners and voice of the service?
 
“The answer is not to disregard the skills and experience we already have, or show complete disrespect for officers who have worked hard to become investigators. 
 
“We already have a ‘streaming’ process, where people join as officers and have time in uniform – if they show an interest in investigation then they can start on the programme. This is more of a middle ground.

“There is already a ‘direct entry detective’ programme within the Metropolitan Police that has not yet been through an evaluation process so we cannot say if it is effective or not. Therefore it does not make financial sense to plough more money into a scheme that has not been through a thorough evaluation.
 
“Detectives in the UK are the best in the world because they cut their teeth on the front line and have learned on the job, through years of experience.
 
“Whilst we welcome any new investment in policing, this appears to be divisive and ill-conceived. A direct entry scheme will serve to shatter morale even more and do nothing to instil public confidence and trust.”