This week The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) was well represented at the Emergency Services Show 2023, with National Deputy Chair Tiff Lynch joining Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe and Andy Higgins, research director at the Police Foundation, on a ‘fireside chat’ focusing on rebuilding public trust and confidence in policing.
Tiff was pleased to have joined the panel on what has never been a more important discussion. As Tiff made clear, “there is no quick fix and it is clear that all stakeholders, including those outside of the police service have a collective duty to rebuild trust in the service. At the heart of rebuilding faith in the police must be strong leadership that can successfully challenge insufficient police numbers, inconsistency in decision making and inadequate training of new officers.
Part of this must include a review of structuring within the police and a streamlining of procurement. Financial wastage cannot be allowed to continue; we need consistency of investment and sufficient direction of funds into frontline policing.”
Tiff also reiterated the PFEW’s belief that a Royal Commission is needed to re-establish the fundamentals of what policing should be in the 21st Century and to find out what our communities want from the police forces that serve them.
National Board region 6 representative and Health and Safety lead, Mark Andrews, presented on two discussions.
On Tuesday 19 September Mark was a panellist on Preventing suicide in front-line responders: How the sector is here to help you.
Mark’s area of expertise is vital in highlighting that responsibility lies with all forces and Chief Constables to suitably look after their employees, ensure the correct risk assessments are in place and that the infrastructure that enables support networks is strong and fit for purpose.
Mark highlighted that much welfare support is still being picked up by the PFEW, when the legal responsibility for this unequivocally lies with Chief Constables and they need to do more.
“We are losing one officer to suicide every two weeks”
As Mark points out, “Still not enough is being done. We are losing one officer to suicide every two weeks, but the reality is that this may not be the whole picture. If we are to truly understand the figure, we need to push for work related suicide to be recorded as a workplace accident under RIDDOR Regulations.
“We have the Suicide Prevention Working Group that comes together to map out best practice in combatting suicide, but forces and Chief Constables must do much more than they are currently doing.”
On Wednesday 20 September Mark presented “Tired of being tired? Why fatigue is more important than just a bad night’s sleep.”
Being the Health and Safety Lead, Mark’s role ensures he is alert to all the possible causes of workplace stress and poor performance, of which fatigue is a major contributing factor.
Bringing his research to the ESS, Mark highlighted that in order for forces to take the risks fatigue presents seriously, it is vital fatigue is properly understood and not just dismissed as being overly tired on shift.
Mark told the full theatre hall, “We must work hard to ensure that fatigue is a recognised risk in the workplace and appropriate risks assessments put in place. The culture of pushing through ‘tiredness’ must end if we are to tackle fatigue seriously.”