PFEW responds to Home Secretary's speech

17 May 2016

PFEW Chair Steve White responds to Home Secretary Theresa May's keynote speech at our annual conference.

Mr White said: “We are pleased that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, recognised that the Federation is a progressive and reforming organisation. We will continue to work hard to ensure the Federation is an organisation our members can be proud of.”

In relation to comments about the Independent Review conducted by Sir David Normington:
“It was an interesting comment the Home Secretary made in relation to the number of recommendations that the Federation has completed from our Independent Review. Many of the recommendations that have yet to be completed - 11 out of 24 - are that way because we are waiting on regulatory changes to be written and approved by the Home Office before they can be implemented.” There are 36 recommendations in total, with 12 completed.

In relation to 'number 2' accounts:
“We know there is still more work to be done around the way the Federation looks after its finances. We absolutely know and agree that our members’ subscriptions need to be treated with respect and used to support them in any way we can. A lot of those changes will happen once the regulatory changes as part of our Independent Review are approved by the Home Office.”

In relation to Hillsborough:
“Hillsborough was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and sympathies remain with the families and friends of the 96 victims.  It is important to remember that a lot has changed in the police service since 1989. It would not be fair to judge today’s police by the actions of a few senior officers who made poor decisions more than 25 years ago." 

In relation to domestic violence:
“We couldn’t agree more with the Home Secretary that domestic violence is a very serious issue in England and Wales and needs to be properly addressed. She cited examples from two years ago, and we appreciate her recognition that the police has made a lot of progress in how we deal with these cases. We are getting better at tackling domestic abuse within our communities, making victims feel safer about coming forward to report crime and we will continue to build on that in the future.

“With respect to the Home Secretary having written to Sir Tom Winsor, asking HMIC to investigate issues relating to domestic violence, we support any moves that will help to improve the standards of policing.

“We understand the Home Secretary’s comments that ‘increasing caseloads and complex investigations [must not] slow improvement or hinder further change’ – however, we would stress that it is these increasing workloads that our officers are trying to cope with, with fewer officers than ever before. Our recent welfare survey shows that:

  • 84% said there were not enough officers to go around to manage the demands placed upon them.
  • 80% of officers agree that at least sometimes they are not able to perform tasks because they have too much work to do.
  • 78% said there were not enough officers in their team/unit for them to do their jobs properly and 58% said they did not have enough time to do their job to a standard they could be proud of.

"I know officers sign up to this job because they have a sense of duty and they passionately believe in what they do – they want to make a difference and want to support communities and help people. What they don’t want is to have to miss tasks, or not do things because of the sheer volume of work they are having to deal with. That work included ever-increasing crime and non-crime incidents and it is all set against a backdrop of 17,000 fewer officers since 2010.

"We also support the Home Secretary’s comments around putting forward proposals to the College of Policing to develop training and standards for specialists roles. We would say that we do support mandated accreditation, but would like to have a discussion about why this would be only for certain roles. We believe that to make training consistent, all training should be mandated and we would happily be involved in further discussions with the Home Office, the College and other partners.”

In relation to being involved with the Police Reform Board (PRB):
“We wholeheartedly support the Home Secretary’s feeling that the Federation be involved in the process of police reform.  We have always said we are open and willing to reform, but to do that to the best of our abilities, we need to be invited to the table. We hope the comments made by the Home Secretary today are an indication that she feels the same way, and we look forward to playing a bigger role within the Police Reform and Transformation Board.”