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Stuart Cowan
Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation

Stuart posts regular blog comments of issues of importance to policing and the BTPF in particular.

British Transport
Police Federation
January 2024

Chairman's Blog




Hello all and welcome to our first Chairs Blog of 2024. I hope you were all able to enjoy some downtime over the festive period. A genuine thanks from all of us in the Federation for all the work that you do. You are all crucial to what we do, and it is very much appreciated.

This is a busy first blog of the year, which I hope you find useful.

Police Screening Data

As you'll be aware, mass screening of over 300,000 police officers and staff took place last year throughout the UK. This was an important, and arguably overdue piece of work that resulted from the deplorable actions of two people who had the temerity to have a warrant card in their pocket and call themselves police officers.

I would encourage you all to view the Chief Constable's views on Viva Engage. Her post makes it very clear that we all have a part to play in ensuring that the confidence of the public, and amongst our peers, is high.

This was important piece of work. The time it took to screen 300,000-plus officers and staff across the country is an indication of how robust the process was, and the Federation welcomes plans for future screening. I have it said it before, but it bears repeating that no-one likes a bad cop more than a good cop. What we cannot forget is that this is the absolute minority and the overwhelming majority amongst us are good, decent people who joined policing for the right reasons.

Following on from this screening process, a reminder that there are mechanisms in place to report concerning conduct and we encourage you to use those as needed. We will also be publishing updated information shortly explaining how the Federation supports victims and witnesses; an aspect of our work that is perhaps less well known than it should be.

Dog Review

A growing concern within the Force at the moment centres around the dog review. We are aware that this has been in the background for a while now and the uncertainty continues.

At this stage we simply don't know how it's going to be structured and we really do encourage all our members to participate in the consultation that is now underway, sharing your views, concerns, and suggestions. There is no such thing as a silly question so please put legitimate concerns forward.

The Federation have for some time made representations to the Force around communication in this process which has proved frustrating, particularly when there have been some inaccuracies around what this Federation has been advised of. I'm hopeful that this has now been resolved and we can work positively going forward, for the benefit of those impacted.

My thanks to our Deputy Chair Ryan Griffiths for his endeavours with this.

Operation Overhand The commitment, patience, and professionalism of our officers during Operation Overhand has been commendable. Late notice shift changes and cancellations of rest days that impact on personal plans are always difficult to digest but each of you is a real credit to this force and I truly hope that they appreciate your efforts as much as this Federation does. We will continue to push to ensure that all of you who have been impacted are suitably compensated.

As part of this, I'm aware that FRPU is working hard to ensure that they can identify officers who worked more than nine consecutive days. These officers will be allocated one day off. Further details will be released in due course, so I ask for your patience with this. Particular thanks go to Liz McWhirter in FRPU who is leading on this and ensuring that the Federation and our members are being communicated with.

BOBO

Whilst touching on rosters can I respectfully request that all our officers continue to ensure that they Book On and Book Off at the end of every tour of duty. It's important that this is done - not in relation to anyone checking up on you, this is not the case - however, should a major incident occur the Force needs to ensure that all our officers are accounted for. This is for our safety more than anything else and it's something that this Federation encourages.

Layers & Spans

There seems to be a theme in this month's blog - thanking you all for your patience and perseverance. This has been clearly evident in what feels like the never-ending Layers and Spans process. I'm reliably informed that this should all be resolved towards the end of March.

So many of you reached out to us to share your concerns and anxieties over this project. What this shows me is how much you care about your job. Your passion has shone through and the volume of correspondence that the Federation and the Force had in the consultation process was impressive. For me this is the standard bearer for consultations moving forward in terms of officer engagement.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this blog. As the new year starts so to do new challenges facing the Force and our members. When this happens it's vital that communication happens and as a Federation, we will strive to keep you updated about emerging issues and we will continue to support you all, and challenge as appropriate.

Until the next time

All the best
Stu

Did you know... As a member of the Federation, you can access discounts from big-name brands and local businesses via our perks platform, PerkJam. Right now, there are offers including 20% of Fitbit devices, 20% off at The Body Shop and discounted tickets for attractions and theme parks. Visit our Perkjam site for more information and you might find your Christmas shopping budget stretches that bit further.

Stuart Cowan
Chair, BTP Federation


Contact the Federation
Tel: 0208 761 8071
Email: info@btpfed.co.uk
Web: www.btpolfed.org.uk