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Hampshire Police Federation Open Meeting 2018

Pay, demand and resources, Taser and South East allowance were among the topics discussed at the Hampshire Police Federation Open Meeting last night.

Newly elected Hampshire Police Federation Chairman Alex Charge and force Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney fronted the panel to more than 200 people as they were quizzed on a number of local policing issues.

Alex opened the evening, sharing priorities for his time in post.

In the Hampshire annual report, which was distributed to attendees on the evening, Alex said that part of his plan was to let members know why it was so important to be part of the Federation and the services and help it offers.

On the night he said "tens of thousands of pounds have been spent looking after officers, in return for just a fraction of an officer's monthly salary to subscribe."

He said he would be holding the Chief Constable to account more around resource and demand, especially when it comes to South East regional allowance. He said "The allowance is about recruitment and retention, but it should be about cost of living. We need to look at this financial vulnerability officers find themselves in."

Alex also reiterated his Hampshire focus, and said he would be prioritizing making sure the service the Federation provides is quality assured and from Reps who are trained and confident in providing advice and support to members.

He closed by reminding officers that what he would do would be based entirely on what they wanted. He said "We need to get some of your ideas and develop them into reality."

In CC Pinkney's speech she took time to thank officers for their immense efforts over recent months.

She emphasised that in July the force took more than 5,000 extra calls, compared to normal and that President Trumps visit, Salisbury and the World Cup had contributed to unprecedented demand.

She said this had led to cancelled rest days, extra hours and missing time with family in times where she said the demand was remarkable.

The CC was open to the fact that the force needs more people. She said "It is a fact we need more people. And we all know it. I will keep fighting for fair funding" and said she would be looking into PCSO roles and ring fenced funding.

On wellbeing, the CC said the force must continue to invest in occupational health, with former Hampshire Police Federation Secretary Paul Robertson now leading this.

CC Pinkney told the room in Southampton, that if police officers are unable to go on summer holidays with their families because of policing, she will write/is writing letters to schools around this and cops not being fined if they and their families need to go on holiday in term time/take their children out of school.

This was a move the Federation pushed for.

Some progress from last year's open meeting was highlighted, where the Chief was asked to improve Taser rollout by 50%. She was pleased to share that following increased funding, Taser was now available to any officer who had an operational need for one and wanted one.

On the South East allowance, CC Pinkney was firm in her decision that there would not be an increase for officers. She said "The South East allowance has to be linked to recruitment and retention. We do not lose officers at levels which are out of kilter with other forces."

For her final point, the CC assured officers that her and the PCC were having conversations about how they could intervene earlier to stop officers getting themselves into financial difficulties.

During the question and answer section, it was posed that morale within the force was critically low. The CC didn't accept that morale was critical, but accepted there was challenges.

Alex urged officers to help highlight issues and ways to fix them.

The panel also received a question regarding crime screening and the necessity of this current resource levels. CC Pinkney answered that the force have always done an element of this, along with the NHS and other public services.

She said: "We will always investigate the most serious and complex crime, but after that we have to make choices. We only have as much resource as we have."

On the dissolvement of the FSU, both the CC and Alex reassured that officers have been consulted and although not an ideal situation, it had been handled well.

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