Chairman's Blog for Sept


Colleagues, there is no other way for me to begin my first monthly blog as Federation Chair than with the sad passing of Her Majesty, The Queen. The outpouring of love and affection shown towards her and the sheer volume of the public in Balmoral, Edinburgh and London who came out to pay their respects is a real testament to how loved she was by many.

The size of the crowds gathering in locations across the UK, plus of course the occasion of the state funeral, brought massive challenges for policing. I am immensely proud of our officers and members of the Special Constabulary who met the challenges head on and had shifts changed or extended and rest days cancelled to help all over the Force. It made me particularly proud to hear that we had hundreds of officers who weren't on duty that day but who phoned in to offer their services, wanting to assist where they could.

Alongside my new deputy chair, Ryan Griffiths, I spent the weekend ahead of the funeral out and about in London, speaking to uniformed colleagues, seeing how they are, and if they had any concerns or issues they'd like to raise. I got a feeling from everyone we spoke to that they had a real sense of pride in what they were doing and the fact that they were playing their part in a once-in-a-generation event.

There is no doubt that they were playing their part and at a time when it might not be the done thing to praise the police, this was undoubtedly a great example to me of the best of British policing.

Federation conference

My first full month in the role of Federation Chair included the baptism of fire that is our annual conference and Awards of Excellence, which this year took place in Cardiff. This was my first chance to get around the table with the Management Board and welcome some of the new reps elected by you, our members. It was great to see the enthusiasm everyone was bringing and I'm confident as we move forward that we have a group of reps who are passionate about assisting you all in any way that they can.

Conference was crammed full of content from our reps to guest speakers to our own Chief Constable. Material from both the closed and open sessions of conference are being added to the conference area on our website. Some of the sessions were recorded and those videos will be added shortly. This information is in the password protected area of the site; if you have forgotten your password, please check your inbox for the accompanying conference circular.

For me, there were two particular highlights from Cardiff. The first was having the absolute pleasure of being introduced to and getting to know Baroness Harris of Richmond. Baroness Harris is a huge supporter of our Federation - in fact policing as a whole - and we are very lucky to be able to class her as a friend.

The second highlight was having the honour of hosting our Awards of Excellence evening. The event showcases the great work carried out by our own officers. I'm not ashamed to admit that there were some emotional moments shared in the room and I want to again say how proud I am of everyone who was nominated. Follow our Facebook page where we're sharing many of the winners' stories - some of the cases are still live so we can't share them just now but will do in due course.

There is so much fine work our officers do on a weekly basis so if you become aware of someone you feel could be deserving of recognition at our next Awards of Excellence evening then please make your local rep aware. We will also share regular prompts throughout the year to get you thinking about who should be put forward for an award.

Federation Review

Earlier this year you were asked to take part in a survey that sought your views of BTP Federation and what more you would like us to do to support you. That questionnaire was part of an independent review of the Federation that was commissioned shortly after the organisation's centenary. In short the review is about making sure the Federation is fit for the future and able to respond to the ever-changing needs of policing and its own members.

Alongside the survey, the panel interviewed members and reps, spoke with our small staff team, looked at some key aspects of our work and the infrastructure we have in place.

The resulting report is available to read here, and I do encourage you to read it. At conference I set out my aims for the future, but the review report very much lays the path we need to follow, not least of all because it reflects what you want to see from us.

In terms of next steps, each divisional committee has been given a few weeks to prioritise the review recommendations. Bringing these thoughts together we can establish a plan as to which of the recommendations we will work on first and which - by virtue of time, resources, or money - may take longer. We will be looking for support from the likes of the Force and Authority to action some of the recommendations; it's simply not possible to do it all alone.

Business as usual

Now that summer is behind us there will be a return to some of the 'business as usual' activities including regular meetings with the Force and the Authority. The National Negotiating Meeting is a crucial part of ensuring the Force meets its responsibilities to you, and I am looking forward to raising and debating matters on your behalf. Wherever I can, I will report outcomes to you via the blog but please keep in mind that some issues cannot be resolved overnight and do take quite some negotiation.

And finally...

As I bring my first blog to a close, I'd like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Nobby Goodband. Nobby dedicated years to the Federation, and we are in a far better place thanks to his efforts. I for one will miss Nobby, if not his jokes! It's important as a Federation that we take Nobby's good work and move forward with it.

I'd also like thank you all for the kind wishes and messages I've received as I take over this position. It's great to know that I have the support of so many. Those that do know me know that I'm passionate about ensuring our officers are taken care of, feel valued and are kept safe at work. I'll do everything that I can to try and make things happen.

Until the next time.

All the best


Did you know...

The meal allowance has increased to £10. Meal expenses were just one of the T&Cs the Federation had requested Force to review, especially in light of the cost of living crisis. We had hoped for a larger increase, however, we're pleased the change has been made and in time for many of the large-scale events that took place on the August Bank Holiday Monday.