HAMPSHIRE Police Federation will continue its mission to try and visit every police area in the force over the next few months as part of the plan to talk to members about pressing issues.
Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield and colleagues have just visited officers at the Isle of Wight to find out which areas need attention. Zoë said demand, police buildings and police training were discussed.
She said: “Estates came up again. We’ve got officers that are sharing buildings with the fire service over in Cowes. They’ve literally got one room. It’s not big enough. Their kitchen is in the same room that they’re working in and on days when the fire service need it for meetings and stuff they have to leave and go out and not come back. There’s definitely some estates issues but the force are well aware of that and are trying to resolve them.”
Officers also told Zoë that they were short-staffed and that colleagues from the mainland were having to come over to the Isle of Wight to cover. The problem is being exacerbated by Covid as increasing numbers of holiday makers visit the south, rather than travelling abroad.
She added: “We spoke to some student officers as well. We’ve got student officers that aren’t on the degree programme but have degrees, and obviously are a bit disheartened that they have to do three years when those on the degree course only have to do two, even though they’ve got a degree.
“The reason why is because every force gets more funding for people on the apprenticeship programme than on the degree programme, so it’s in the force’s interest to have more people on the apprenticeship route than on the degree route. Officers told me how hard it is to do the degree and learn the role of a police officer and how much time they’re having to spend on their days off, studying. There’s a lot we’re trying to do on this. Fortunately our PCC, Donna Jones, is really alive to this so she’s helping. We’re trying to speak to their sergeants to see if they can give them some extra support. It’s really tough for them.”