Replay our live online discussion with Steve White and Andy Fittes

05 July 2016

Members of the Police Federation were invited to take part in a live online discussion with the national Chair Steve White and General Secretary Andy Fittes on 4 July 2016. The question and answer session gave those involved the chance to put questions to Steve and Andy on a wide range of topics, including Police Federation reform, pensions, funding channels, TASER, and PFEW being subject to the Freedom Of Information Act.

Further events to give members the opportunity to ask questions of elected officers, voice their concerns and provide feedback are being planned across the coming months.

Watch the whole session back or scroll down to see examples of a few of the questions answered during the session:

 


Q: Can you foresee a time when your legal position will change regarding the legal challenge to the police pension scheme?
Andy Fittes: 'I have always said that we will review the situation as it goes along. I am not saying this is our position and it will never change. We need to keep everything under review and see what’s happening. I will say, one of the issues we have around this is that the challenge is based around looking at the transitional protections and using that to challenge the scheme. For the Federation, transitional protection is a good thing - changes to pay and conditions all tend to have transitional arrangements built into them so you don’t get cliff edge changes. We might not be able to stop every change that comes in around policing, but we have an influence and part of that is trying to maximise protections around transitional arrangements to lessen the impact.'

Q. What feedback has been received following the letter to Chiefs regarding pension forecasts and their obligation to members?
Andy Fittes: 'Forces’ finance departments are obliged to provide pension forecasts for police officers by September this year, 17 months after the start of the scheme – that is their legal obligation. Some forces have done it already, other forces are lagging behind. At the scheme advisory board, which I attend, which is the governance procedure for pensions, I have raised it before and I will keep raising it. Forces are more aware now that they have to comply. If they don’t we will hold them to account.'

Q. Do you feel PFEW are now reluctant to be proactive challenging the media and government after having its fingers burnt with Plebgate?
Steve White: 'No I don’t. When we get the opportunity to push back, we do. I will never be shy about using the media appropriately and challenging them when they say things that are inaccurate. I’ve had numerous letters to editors published pointing out their inaccuracies. It’s difficult when the media says something we don’t agree with or is factually inaccurate because once it has been published, it’s been published. To a certain extent, you are fighting a losing battle. One of the strategies we have around that is to have a robust but constructive relationship with all parts of the media so that when they have something and they want to publish, they talk to us first and make it accurate. I won’t shy away from dealing with those issues. In terms of positioning ourselves as an organisation to be taken seriously, I think we have come a long way.'

Q. When will the separate rank boards be scrapped as per the Normington Review?
Andy Fittes: 'The rank boards will go in regulation terms when the regulations are enacted by parliament. We are in consultation with the Home Office at the moment around what those new regulations will look like, but the deliver will be the new structure which will not have rank boards within. Boards around the country have already taken steps to begin operating in the new way. Here at Leatherhead, all the boards have started the process of winding down what was the old rank separate committees. The enactment in regulations will be the official stage, but we are also making progress for them to be wound down.'