Chairman's Blog Vlog for Dec

Colleagues - welcome to this month's blog which has been recorded as a vlog. To watch it, click the image or read the full transcript below.

Vlog transcript:

Members, welcome to this month's blog being done slightly differently by way of a vlog. I do hope that you find this useful, and you're all safe and well.

I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months. Yet again, this has been a challenging year for our officers. There is no way of sugarcoating it. This has been a difficult year for policing.

It feels like every time we switch onto the media, we are being lambasted - deservedly so when it comes to some of the disgraceful conduct we have seen recently - but the lives we save, and the people that we help are rarely mentioned. I want to see a focus on the good work policing does to make Britain safer.

Financial hardship has hit us all hard. There is no doubt that we are not paid our true worth. It's heartbreaking to hear of more of our colleagues having to go to food banks and to make decisions, such as choosing whether to heat their family homes, or try and put food on the table.

It shouldn't have to come to this.

It's never too late for change, and I'd call on the British Transport Police Authority to work harder to ensure better pay for our officers. It's not just the Authority, that must work harder to help our officers. For 2023, I'm calling on the Force to dramatically improve our Occupational Health Department.

Let's not forget what our officers go through and how that impacts on our mental and physical health. On a daily basis, our officers deal with the impact of fatalities, whether that's at the scene, or passing sympathy messages - often both - to being punched, kicked, verbally abused.

It doesn't just end there. The physical scars may heal but what about the mental scars when those who assault our officers are dealt with so leniently by the court system? The Force has a responsibility to look after our officers. So instead of looking to continue to recruit into our PSD, let's really push to improve looking after our officers' health.

We can't pay lip service, we need action.

We understand that this is a difficult time for many, and if you are struggling, then please reach out to us. Our reps are available to listen in difficult times as well as offering practical help. Even if you feel you can't speak to someone within the Federation, then please have a look at the welfare section of the Federation website, where we have listed the contact details of reputable and reliable organisations who are here to help, most of which have experience of supporting the police family and understand the unique challenges that we face.

Before we look ahead to next year, I'd like to pause and think of our friends and colleagues that we have lost this year. Sadly, we often don't show appreciation for one another until it's too late.

Their dedication and service will never be forgotten. And we thank them for that.

Looking ahead to 2023, some challenges remain. The cost of living crisis isn't going anywhere. As I've stated earlier in this message we need to see genuine work to improve on this.

We will see continued challenges with both the Layers and Spans and CT reviews. In my recent circular, I set out the Federation views on this. We cannot continually cost cut. Policing can't afford to do this. All too often we see decisions made by spreadsheet and the place that has its greatest - and most negative - impact is with the cops in the ground. I urge everyone to get involved with these reviews and to put your thoughts forward to the Force.

We continue to challenge the views of the NPCC over the difficulties our officers face should they wish to transfer from BTP. With attitudes like this shown by the College of Policing, it's little wonder our officers can have an inferiority complex. That should never be the case.

I've been involved in countless jobs in my service that's led for joint working with Home Office forces. From arrests to major incidents, I can say with all certainty I'd never swap the officer that's by my side for anyone in the Home Office. I'm exceptionally proud to stand with you, our officers. There are no better.

There have been changes within the Federation as well. As many know our previous chair Nobby Goodband retired earlier this year. He brought around some massive and much-needed change to the Federation. And I look forward to continuing to help the Federation evolve in the years ahead. One thing that can help us evolve is our Independent Review.

There are a number of recommendations that we can look to make that will improve the service we provide to you, our members. So I look forward to seeing what that may bring.

I'd like to close now by thanking you for taking the time to watch this. For those of you working over the festive period, a genuine thank you from me to you. It's yet another sacrifice made, being away from your loved ones, and it's greatly appreciated.

For those of you who are enjoying some downtime, I really do hope that you and yours have the best possible time.

A gentle reminder that when enjoying social functions, that whether we like it or not, we're held to higher account due to our positions and Big Brother is always watching us so please consider that when out and about.

On that cheery note, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the year ahead.

Thank you.

All the best

Did you know?

There are a number of organisations outside the police service who can support the police family during difficult times. We have listed some of them in the welfare area of the Federation website. Find that information here: http://localhostref/welfare.htm

Stuart Cowan
Chair, BTP Federation

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