Highlight professionalism with Body Worn Video

The roll out of Body Worn Video (BWV) continues and so does the value of it as research has shown a reduction in complaints against Police of 93%.

The Federation strongly support the use of BWV, as it provides a valuable layer of accountability and transparency, whilst showing the professionalism, honesty and integrity shown by officers on a daily basis.

We all know the corrosive nature of any complaint either against ourselves or our colleagues and the detrimental effect of what are often long, drawn out investigations.

BWV gives officers the ability to use their discretion to deal with situations in a way that best suits the public and we have been given assurance by the Chief Constable and the Head of PSD that there will be no ‘fishing trips’ for misconduct.

Today, Friday 2nd December saw the value of BWV footage in providing early resolution to complaints against officers and bringing about a swift decision by the IPCC of no requirement for an investigation.

In one case two officers detained a male who was violent and threatening upon arrest. This was witnessed and a complaint made of excessive force. The footage captured on the BWV quickly exonerated both officers, showing them to have acted reasonably and proportionately in light of the violence they faced.

The other case involved serious injury following Police contact, requiring an automatic IPCC referral. Again the officers, utilising their BWV from the start of the incident, provided investigators with an accurate account of how the incident unfolded and the significant efforts made by officers to help the individual.

We have been given the technology that not only provides unchallengeable evidence, but more importantly offers protection to you and your colleagues against malicious and vexatious complaints.

Your job is difficult, demanding and often dangerous; BWV shows that in high definition, so have confidence in using BWV to highlight your professionalism and switch it on!

Tattooed officers do not affect public confidence

An overwhelming majority of the public say their confidence in a police officer to do their duty would not be affected if they had a visible tattoo.

Eighty-one per cent of respondents surveyed by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) insisted that a visible tattoo would make no difference to their confidence in the officer.

Further to that, 60 per cent of those surveyed say they believe people with visible tattoos should be allowed to join the police force.

It is far more commonplace for people to have tattoos than it ever was and the comments in the survey reflect the fact that it doesn’t undermine public confidence in the service if officers have ink.

What we need to see now is a sensible approach to officers in the service and to potential candidates who want to join the service, otherwise we are missing out on a huge talent pool.
Policies need to be modern and flexible to ensure the public get the best people delivering their policing, being representative of the communities we serve.

The research – which was two-fold and asked views of officers as well as the public – was undertaken earlier in the year because of the inconsistent way national guidance was being interpreted across the country among forces.
The current national guidance states that officers “should not have tattoos which could cause offence. Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of your role.”

We’re not saying we advocate offensive tattoos, or a full face tattoo, but many people have small tattoos on visible parts of their bodies, such as the neck or hands and the survey explored what the issues were and provided evidence to help shape our thinking and the next steps.

The results also found:

  • Nearly 60% of the public who responded said they would feel comfortable in dealing with an officer who has a visible tattoo – slightly higher than they would with doctors or teachers (both 56%)
  • 60% felt that people with visible tattoos should be allowed to join the police force
  • More than half (55%) of officers felt comfortable or very comfortable working with colleagues with visible tattoos
  • 48% of officers surveyed say they have a tattoo, with 17% having a visible tattoo.
  • Many officers also reported that tattoos helped them to relate to the public, diffusing situations and that officers should be judged on their work, rather than tattoos.

The research will now contribute to a national working group which is looking at the issue with a view to drafting guidance to help forces achieve a national stance.

Visible tattoos forms part of the uniform and dress code policy which is currently under review within Avon and Somerset and is due to be discussed further on 15th November

Vince Howard

Some parting thoughts on my retirement

After 30 years as a serving police officer I retire today and hand over the duties of our local federation to my successor, Alan Bell.

I have seen a lot of change in policing over 30 years, much of it over the last 10 years and not all of it for the better. The increased reliance on the police service for all that ails society is beyond compare to the time when I joined. The added pressures are having a significant impact on the well-being of officers and staff which must not be underestimated. There is a fine line between scrutiny of the service and the undermining of it. Police officers must be trusted to make decisions and cannot be expected to second guess everything they do because quite frankly policing is not an exact science. I remain more circumspect of the media and their ‘arm chair critics’ by knowing the only people who really understand our vocation are those that have done it and continue to do it!

The very nature of policing means that you cannot be expected get it right all of the time as you can only be expected do your best. Over thirty years I have not worked alongside any officer or member of staff that hasn’t been dedicated to doing their best for our communities.

I have been proud to serve as a police officer and to have been elected a federation representative and to serve you. The role of a rep in looking out for the very people that deliver policing is vital to their continued well-being and is not a role to be taken lightly. Despite unjust criticism of the Federation on occasion officers continue to become ‘fed reps’ and selflessly give of their time alongside their policing duties. With federation elections next year I would encourage serving officers to step forward and consider giving the role a chance by becoming a rep. themselves. I leave our local federation in the hands of dedicated and supportive individuals that will do their best for you on a daily basis.

As for me I will continue to support policing following my retirement appreciative of the fact that you continue to do a job like no other, a fact I’ll tell anyone else prepared to listen

Police Memorial Day 25 September 2016 – Local Event

National Police Memorial Day was founded by Joe Holness, following the brutal killing of fellow Kent Police officer Jon Odell, at Margate, in December 2000.

An official annual national day provides a remembrance for those who have paid the ultimate price in service of their communities. Police memorial day this year is September 25th. The national service is to be held at St. Pauls Cathedral London.

For 10 years an event to honour those locally who have their names on the roll of remembrance has been organised by Police Sergeant Neil Goodwin. This year will be Neil’s last year organising the event and it would be good to see many of you there to thank Neil and also to honour our fallen colleagues. The event will coincide with the national service and be held in Weston-super-Mare. Gathering for the parade will take place from 1400 at Walliscote Primary School opposite the police station, BS23 1UU. If you are a serving officer or PCSO you will be more than welcome to join the parade through the town before the service at Clarence Park Baptist Church. It s a great event for the policing family with many of our retired colleagues in attendance.
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As in previous years the event will include;

  • Mace & Mounted Police Ceremonial Team
  • Fire Service Ceremonial Team
  • The Avon & Somerset Male Voice Choir
  • Blue Knights Motorcycle Group
  • The City of Bristol Pipes & Drums Band

The event will be followed by a buffet in the church hall and to assist with numbers for catering please visit the event Facebook page to register your interest, or send us an email to info@avsomfed.org and we will pass on your details to the organisers.

Register your attendance on the Facebook Page

Bitterly Disappointed With 1% Pay Rise

Police Federation ‘angry and bitterly disappointed’ with 1% pay increase for officers

Following the announcement of a 1% pay increase for police officers in England and Wales, Steve White, Chairman of the PFEW, said:

“Every police officer across England and Wales will be angry and bitterly disappointed with an insulting 1% pay deal by the Government, after the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) rejected our evidence for a 2.8% increase. The PRRB clearly hasn’t listened to the reasons why we called for a 2.8% increase on pay, however they agree with us on almost every other point we put forward.

“The Home Office and Treasury acknowledge that the UK economy grew by 2.9% in 2014, yet the Government still expects hard-working police officers to further tighten their belts. This will further impact on the low morale among police officers who have told us and the PRRB that they already feel overworked, under-valued and unappreciated. Government talks of austerity measures, but this clearly applies to some more than others. The bitter irony won’t be lost on officers that all public sector pay review bodies have had their hands effectively tied to fit the Government’s fiscal agenda and rhetoric of cuts, while MPs themselves enjoyed a pay increase of 10%.

“While deeply disheartening, the headline figure of 1% shouldn’t mask the fact that the pay review body came down on the side of Police Federation on almost every other aspect of police pay on which they were asked to make a decision. The PRRB decided that, in line with our evidence, the pay increase should be consolidated, dismissing chief officers’ views that it should be non-consolidated, which would have meant the increase would not have been pensionable pay. As we demanded, the PRRB decided that public holiday pay should not be reduced and Away from Home Overnight allowance shouldn’t be scrapped. Also, as we asked, that London Weighting should go up by 1%, as should Dog Handler Allowance. They also increased the South East Allowance as we told them.

“The PRRB has also thrown out a number of proposals put forward by the Metropolitan Police Service and National Police Chiefs’ Council as being too early to bring to the pay review body. In doing so, they have firmly recognised the important role of the Police Federation and other staff associations in representing members during consultation at the Police Consultative Forum.

“However, in acknowledging these wins, Government must be left in no doubt – police officers perform a vital, extraordinary and unique function in society. We run towards danger and threats when others can walk away; we are the emergency service of last resort that people come to when they have nowhere else and no-one else to turn to. Therefore, a 1% pay increase will feel like a kick in the teeth for the 122,000 dedicated, professional and committed police officers who put the lives and welfare of those we serve ahead of their own. ”