Home Secretary Must Listen To Officers

NEW Home Secretary Suella Braverman is a Hampshire MP but Hampshire Police Federation has been snubbed in its requests for a meeting with her.

Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said she would write to Ms Braverman again to attempt to arrange a meeting to discuss the pressing issues facing Hampshire Police officers.

Zoë said: “I’d tell her that even though we’re recruiting, we’re losing experienced officers and we’ve got officers who are struggling to cope with the demands they’re facing day in, day out at work.”

MPs from all parties needed to be more aware of the crisis in policing and do more to help officers, Zoë added.

She said: “All MPs, from all parties, need to have a proper look at what has gone wrong with policing over the past 10, 20 years. Obviously, the cuts are the main reason why we’re in the state we’re in.

“The forces that are in special measures aren’t there because their officers aren’t any good. It’s because they haven’t got enough officers in order to meet demand, so something has to give. Some jobs don’t get deployed to, or some jobs don’t get investigated properly because the workload is just too high. And we’re definitely seeing that in Hampshire. We cannot cope and meet the demand.

“MPs need to think about what they can do now. Whether it’s putting more investment in policing, more investment in mental health services so that we’re not doing that work, to get policing back to where it should be.

“We’re getting more officers, yes, but we’re losing a lot of experienced officers as well. So it’s that retention element, not just the recruiting. And all those who have been recruited are doing a degree that takes three years, so for the first three years of their service they’re not even a full-time officer. They’re a part-time officer, effectively, because the rest of the time they’re studying.

“So the 20,000 police officers the Government has promised is not 20,000 police officers. We’re not going to realise the benefit of all that recruiting for probably five or six years’ time, when we’ve actually got experienced police officers.”

Police pay and conditions should also be high on MPs’ agendas, said Zoë.

“That’s why we’re losing the more experienced officers,” she said. “If you’re not looking at getting promoted, every officer now has to accept that they’re going to face a real-terms pay cut every year, and that’s why people are saying: ‘As much as I love policing, I’ve got to provide for my family so I’m going to leave and get a better-paid job’.

“The Government needs to look at why good, experienced officers are leaving. Why would you stay when you can get a better-paid job with less stress, not having to work Christmas and your children’s birthdays, for more money?”


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