Chair's Blog for May


Colleagues, welcome to the Federation Blog for May, in what's been another busy and challenging time for our members.


The start of this month brought us the coronation of His Majesty, King Charles. In what was a massive, and hopefully a once in a career landmark, I was yet again in awe of my colleagues who stepped up to the plate to extend shifts, cancel plans and show their commitment to the job required to assist in this event.

It's important to me at these major events that if you are out and about and working then your Federation should be as well. Much like when the Queen passed away and was lying in state, I was out and about and talking to our members who were working. Along with the Federation treasurer, Pete Kingham, and TFL Area Secretary, Dean Percival I got the opportunity to speak to many of you. This time is valuable to me as I get to hear your views on how you think things are with the Force at the moment - both positive and negative. More on that later in the blog?


Another major event where BTP played a huge part in was the Eurovision Song Contest that was held this month in Liverpool. On the face of things, this was deemed a success and the event passed in good spirits, however I was frustrated to hear directly from some of our members who felt that they weren't being looked after welfare-wise during the event.

When officers are on 12-hour shifts for several days their welfare must be paramount. Things like ensuring there are plenty of provisions such as tea, coffee, water, and snacks at non-mainline hubs should be standard. As should ensuring officers have adequate feeding. To have officers who are on 12-hour shifts, for a number of shifts and therefore entitled to two meal breaks, paying out for meals shouldn't happen. It's particularly disappointing when considering the current financial climate as some officers may not be able to pay out for two meal breaks a day across a set of shifts and have to wait six weeks for it to fall back into their bank account.

We must ensure that at all events we support our officers and consider examples like that above.


Along with TSSA and the Superintendents' Association, the Federation recently took part in the latest Joint Central Committee hosted by our chief Constable, Lucy D'Orsi. Items on the agenda that were discussed with our members in mind included the positive news that Northwick Park is now confirmed to be coming to an end. It's been a long and weary process and it has clearly not been suitable for our officers. It's a credit to those of you who persevered in some of these conditions and once again I'd like to thank Supt Chris Horton and his team for securing the new premises at Wembley which I look forward to seeing soon.

We also look forward to the upcoming National Negotiating Meeting (NNM) where we will discuss issues that we have been made aware of recently that include mileage payment and when this is applicable.

Conduct - Home Office Review

You may have seen in the press recently a submission from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Harriet Harman, MP around giving greater powers to Chief Constables in dismissing officers.

Some of the narrative set out in this letter is alarming and my own personal view is that when political parties choose to submit items like this, they should have a genuine understanding of the demands and challenges in modern policing. There is limited information available to us at this moment in time, but we note that PFEW has released comms which state they are 'actively engaging' in a Home Office review. I have written to PFEW requesting that they share this information with us, with a reminder that we are stronger when we work together.

There are two things I feel are important to remember when considering the review. Firstly, something I have mentioned before, which is that nobody dislikes a bad cop more than a good cop and nobody wants to be rid of the bad cops more than this Federation. Secondly, officers absolutely have the right to a personal life and a right to privacy. That must not be forgotten amongst this.

As and when we receive more information about this matter, I shall update you all accordingly.


I mentioned at the top of this blog that I have been made aware of some negative issues. It will come as no surprise to many that this centres on rostering.

To try and resolve this I've recently had a productive meeting with Liz McWhirter of FRPU where I shared my frustrations at what seems to be continual cancellations of rest days for officers due to annual events that have been known about for some time. We can't have officers facing cancellations like this and we must have a better understanding of why this happens, whether it needs to happen and if so, that it only happens when there is a genuine exigency of duty. We must be in a better place with RDC and be truly cognisant of the impact that this can have on our officers.

The ongoing issue around 12-hour nights was also raised and I'm sure you'll be fed up with hearing me say this, but we do not and will not support 12-hour nights. This steps out of the working time agreement, and it should not be happening. We should also not be experiencing what some believe to be 'emotional blackmail' by those stating that working 12-hour nights would potentially reduce RDCs for our colleagues. It shouldn't land on the officers' sense of duty towards their colleagues to do this and we must find alternate solutions.

It was welcoming that Liz acknowledged these issues and is in agreement with the Federation that the above shouldn't be happening. I'd like to thank Liz for her eagerness to resolve the above and I know that she is working hard with her team on these matters. I look forward to working with her to continue to address this issue.

I think it's also worth noting as per our recent circular (no 024/23) that when you receive communications from the Force about a rostering issue that states the Federation has been made aware/been consulted etc this does not mean that we necessarily agree or are in support of the action that has been taken. It simply means that we have been made aware of the intended action. We then work hard to keep any changes to an absolute minimum and do our upmost to ensure those impacted are recompensed accordingly.

PhD Studentship: Stress and decision-making

I am pleased to share the link below which is an advert for a BTP Federation PhD Studentship through the Open University. We are seeking to produce a body of work relating to 'Stress and Decision Making - The link between trauma, culture and misconduct in policing'.

https://business-school.open.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/phd-studentships (See: POP01)

I am passionate about ensuring our police officers are cared for and have adequate provisions and protection in place. I'm really excited about this piece of work and I'm grateful to Dr. Sarah-Jane Lennie CPsychol (who you may remember from our conference) who shares my sentiments.

If we want change to happen, then we all have a role to play in trying to make those changes. Please share this with anyone you think may be interested in this opportunity.

To end

I have really valued the time I have spent with officers I have spoken to recently. This wasn't for publicity or to stick a selfie on our Federation socials. This was with a burning desire to ensure that our Federation has a real, genuine connection to the difference makers in our job, who are you, our members. Despite the current challenges being faced, you all come in, get kitted up and deliver an unbelievable service. You aren't told that nearly enough, but it's valued. Having also spent time with sister Federations of other forces recently I can assure you there are many challenges out there and I say with all sincerity that I think British Transport Police compares really favourably to others. Again, this is a testament to all those within our Force. Thank you.

Until the next time.

All the best,

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Stuart Cowan
Chair, BTP Federation