HAMPSHIRE Police officers will get more opportunities to talk to their Federation reps, who will be visiting stations regularly “so we can hear directly the issues that are important to you”, Chair Zoë Wakefield has said.
Zoë was speaking at Hampshire Police Federation virtual Open Meeting on 22 February. She said that over the past year Hampshire Police Federation had supported officers at COP26, provided free welfare breaks for dozens of families, and campaigned on issues including assaults on officers and improving police pay.
The Hampshire Police Federation Open Meeting was watched online by dozens of officers, who also heard from Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney and Deputy Chief Constable Ben Snuggs. There was a Q&A session at the end of the meeting, where the Hampshire CC and DCC answered a range of questions from participants.
On the police officer pay, Zoë said that the Federation’s recent Pay and Morale Survey “doesn’t make for easy reading”, with 78% of Hampshire respondents dissatisfied with their pay, and that the Federation had been working hard to support officers in financial difficulty.
She said she had recently approached the Chief Constable to get an index-linked increase to the South East Allowance, and added that the Federation would continue to hold regular surgeries for wills, financial planning, family law and mortgages.
Student officers were facing particular hardship, Zoë said: “We’re very aware of the financial difficulties student officers are facing. We understand that many students find it difficult to be able to afford to find somewhere to live. We are in discussions with the PCC and Superintendent George White from the wellbeing team on solutions to this.”
The meeting also heard about the welfare support Hampshire Police Federation has provided over the past year.
Zoë said: “We supported officers deployed to Scotland for COP26 in November. We were able to provide welfare support, for example assisting with getting some officers back home, issues with rooms, provision of halal food.
“The Federation welfare van was a big hit too, providing hot drinks, soup, snacks, and the use of a toilet when officers were in some quite remote locations. We are already involved in the planning for Op Unity for the Commonwealth Games in the summer, which will hopefully have the same level of welfare support, if not better!”
Zoë continued to say that in 2021 Hampshire Police Federation gave 50 families a free break at its welfare cottages at Sandy Balls, and over 100 officers received a heavily discounted break.
Continued support was essential when three Hampshire officers are assaulted every day, Zoë pointed out. She said: “This will never be acceptable, and we are looking at ways we can try to reduce this, as well as looking after officers who are assaulted. We are working with the Personal Safety Training (PST) department on providing more debriefs and additional options to learn and practise PST techniques.”
Zoë was recently re-elected as Hampshire Police Federation Chair for the next three years, and she praised her fellow Federation Representatives, which she said provided a “good representation” of members, including 14 female reps, five BME reps, an LGBT+ rep and three reps with fewer than five years’ service.