Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation
Nigel posts regular blog comments of issues of importance to policing and the BTPF in particular.
Having been in office as your National Chairman for four months I wanted to share with you some of what has happened within the Federation and update you on what I have been working on.
Within weeks of taking up the role of Chairman I found myself on the podium at the BTP Federation conference in Edinburgh,providing a speech and asking questions of the Department for Transport regarding all things BTP. A recent circulation will have provided you all with an opportunity to read what took place at conference and what was contained within the various speeches .That information will be posted on our website shortly.
On the subject of the website and communication generally, we're beginning to make some changes to the website which will enable us to provide you with more information, more often. This includes changes to the structure of the site so it's easier to find the content you need, when you need it.
Since conference I have had avery busy time settling in to my new role and responsibilities,and meeting many different people in varying roles.
Immediately after conference I visited the Scottish Parliament to meet with the Scottish justice Minister Mr Michael Matheson. I had an opportunity of introducing myself to him and the team who are involved in the proposal to merge BTP Scotland into Police Scotland. No detail was provided by the team regarding pensions or potential terms and conditions for any integration. We will shortly issue an update to you on these discussions .The consultation process has not yet commenced but when it does, the federation will be an integral part and all those affected by any proposed change will be kept up to date.
Furthermore I have visited the House of Commons and met with various MP's who support the BTP and the specialist role that you undertake on a daily basis.
Wellbeing and welfare are significant issues for the police service and that includes our own force. I have recently returned from a meeting of EuroCop, which this year took place in Spain. EuroCop is an organisation set up to represent staff associations and unions for Policing throughout Europe. Whilst at the meeting I had the opportunity to speak with the organisation's president, Angels Bosch, who described similar concerns that we and other forces are suffering throughout Europe; a common thread through the meeting was wellbeing and change. I will continue to build on this relationship in the coming months as sharing the good practice and innovative work from other forces can only be of benefit to us.
In April I attended a meeting at the Home Office to discuss the infrastructure project involving the MOD Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary. Also at the meeting were the officials of the other staff associations involved in these discussions. The meeting provided an insight into the infrastructure review and how that was being undertaken, a summary of which has been posted on the federation website.
This month I will attend the PFEW conference and next month the conference of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland. I look forward to meeting my colleagues in both organisations and listening to their views on the future of policing in UK, BTP and all other policing issues.
Moving on to more internal business. I have attended many meetings regarding the Crime Review, the Demand review, pay and conditions, and the wellbeing strategy; all of which have been interesting, time consuming, complex and challenging for both the Federation and I suspect the force.
We have reached a 'failure to agree' regarding the new sickness policy and the overnight allowance. Both are now with the Police Authority for arbitration. The Crime review, Demand review and pay and condition discussions are continuing and the Federation and I are being involved in a consultation process. The next meeting being planned for 13th May 2016.
I would add that DCC Hanstock has now taken leadership of the demand review as per his recent internal email. This is a positive step forward and he has committed to involving staff associations, officers of varying ranks,Divisional and sub-Divisional Commanders.
Lastly your federation now has a new constitution incorporating new policies, financial rules and a code of conduct, all of which have been outlined by the General Secretary on the website and within his speech at conference. Transparency and openness are of the greatest importance to me.
In summary, I have experienced a very busy four months and I have met with some very interesting people. What I would say is how proud I am to be the new Chairman of the BTP Federation and furthermore to tell you how proud I am of you the members of the BTPF,who continue to work in a difficult environment, through some very difficult times, with steadfast determination and professionalism. You are all a credit to policing across the country and you should be proud in what you achieve on a daily basis.
I personally would like to thank you all for your continued support because this Federation is only as strong as its members and their continued membership.
I will provide further updates as business progresses and I will continue to deliver on my promise to you the members to provide a service that you have confidence in and are aware of what exactly that service is.
I wish you all good health and stay safe whilst continuing with your excellent work.