“Let’s hope a police covenant is not just more warm words from politicians”

THE proposed Police Covenant is a positive step as long as it’s not just “warm words” from politicians, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel launched a consultation into the Police Covenant last month, to protect the rights of serving and former police officers in law.

The consultation, which will run for eight weeks, covers the themes of physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for families, as well as the scope and wording of the covenant. Views are also being sought on how officers should be publicly recognised for their bravery and work.

Hampshire Police Federation Chairman Alex Charge said: “I hope it’s not just warm words. It’s got to be a contract between police officers and the Government around how they’ll be looked after and supported throughout their service, and after their service, in a similar way that happens in the military.

“I think it is a positive step that we’re talking about and getting a Police Covenant but, like everything, the proof is in the pudding.” He pointed out that previous Governments had said a lot, but that he wanted to see delivery on those promises.

He continued: “It’s about providing money for welfare, wellbeing projects, looking after officers. When you look at the Cambridge policing survey https://www.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.cam.ac.uk/files/inner-images/thejobthelife_findings.pdf you find that fewer officers going to more traumatic things more often is having an impact on things like post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Alex said the priority should be to look after those people who look after the public.

“Just like when we ask people from the military to go overseas and fight and put up with horrible stuff, there’s some expectation that the Government and the country look after them when things go wrong. That’s what I would like to see from a Police Covenant.”

Alex said he encourages officers to contribute to the consultation. “It’s really important so that we get a rounded picture of what everybody would like to see from the covenant. There’s no monopoly on good ideas. There may be something that someone in a response car comes up with that no one’s thought of before. So it’s important that people do get engaged with their ideas, or send us their ideas and we can feed them in.”

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