Publications / Circulars
Open Meeting 2013
The meeting started with a video remembering fallen colleagues
Chief Constable, colleagues…..
That video reminds us of the sacrifice some of our colleagues make. Here at home we have felt the pain of losing one of our own. PC Steve 'slim' Rawson was killed on duty in April this year. Slims loss knocked us all, as a Force we came together in our grief and support of his family…The arms of the Federation have wrapped around Kerry and the children, and we will be there, for as long as they need us.
Then in September we lost PC Trevor Spencer. Trev was a proud member of the FSU and despite being struck down with an illness his determination, courage and professionalism meant he served his last days as a member of that team, something which was so important to him.
There have been many tributes paid to both of these fine officers. The most important of these is that we never forget them. And we will not.
Please stand to remember fallen colleagues.
Allow me to introduce the panel. I am John Apter and I am the Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation. We also have our Chief Constable, Andy Marsh. We also have our Police Crime Commissioner, Simon Hayes and I am very pleased to introduce the National Federation Chairman, Steve Williams. Tom Winsor was invited but his uniform is in for dry cleaning so he couldn't make it…..
So I will say a few words, the Chief Constable will respond and then our National Chairman will address you. Following this we can then get into the question time.
The past 12 months have been …….interesting. We have had a new Chief Constable, a new Deputy Chief Constable and since November last year we have a Police and Crime Commissioner who is there to be the voice of the people and to hold the Chief Constable to account. During the election I made no secret of my concern that the appointment of a Police and Crime Commissioner would bring politics into policing which would be damaging. Fortunately for us, Simon Hayes is non political. He is an independent PCC with independent views. Mr Hayes, you have taken the time to talk with the Federation, you have listened to our concerns and considered our suggestions. Whilst I appreciate you are there for the public, it is important that you listen to the voice of the service. The rank and file who live and breathe policing on a daily basis.
The cuts to the policing budget are taking their toll. First was a 20% cut which in real terms was £55 million. This forced centralisation of many department, the closure of front offices to the public, the selling off of police buildings, the reduction of police staff posts by many 100's, Joint working with Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Fire Service and a reduction of police officer posts. Since April 2010 we have reduced the number of police officer posts by 406. For a Force our size this is an 11% reduction.
Don't worry we are told, the frontline is unaffected by these cuts.
This is rubbish. This propaganda and spin from the Force must stop. The frontline is being affected and is at breaking point, and in some places it has already broken. The reality for officers on the frontline is continuously working at or below minimum safe levels, unable to take leave, unable to take time off, having their duties changed at a moment's notice because there are simply not enough cops to go around. There is absolutely no slack in the system, we have no resilience.
Sickness levels are going up, stress is going up…..I have been warning that with all of these cuts and change something had to give. We could not continue trying to do more and more with less and less. What is now clear is that the casualty in this is not crime figures, it's not performance it's the wellbeing of our officers and staff. Officers are breaking, we have reached a point where any further reductions to police officer numbers will make policing our streets impossible.
What we now see on a daily basis are officer's duties being changed at short notice. Now officers don't have many rights but the rights they do have are very often abused. Police Regulations (our legally binding rights) say very clearly that an officer's duty should not be changed with less than three months' notice unless it is for an exigency of duty. Exigency is a strange word and some managers have difficulty in understanding what it means…. so let me explain it. There are a number of definitions but in general terms it means this.....a pressing or urgent demand, an emergency. Something that could not have been predicted or planned for….. Far too often officers are having their duties changed at short notice for situations which are clearly not an exigency.