What a year 2020 has been for policing. We started the year with the positive news that investment in policing was here and we would have 20,000 extra colleagues. We were promised this would help with the workload and ease the burden on existing officers.
We also have the police apprenticeship entry scheme, which takes three years to complete and the officer obtains a degree qualification. This meant the help will not be quite as quick onto the streets.
Then in March, COVID-19 hit us and we were unprepared for what was to come.
I saw my colleagues policing without adequate PPE, managers working from home or in the comfort of their office quoting that it was business as usual.
This was pointed out to senior officers and a significant improvement was made in messaging and taking seriously the issues raised. Credit where credit is due, our force have worked extremely hard in trying to provide the best PPE and regular messaging in respect of COVID-19.
Nationally, PFEW are working hard at Westminster to hold the Government to account. Locally, we will continue to engage our 22 local MPs and hold them to account, whether this is in personal meetings, press, radio and TV appearances or via our very effective social media platforms.
West Yorkshire Police Federation has maintained all previous commitments with the exception of office surgeries. We have expanded our in-house counselling services, extended our availability of physio, introduced a sports massage therapy and assisted the force in introducing TRiM to highlight those who have been involved in traumatic incidents.
“The Thin Brew Line” Federation Welfare Van has been out to every district providing a quality cuppa and snacks to hard-working colleagues. It has assisted at major incidents within the force and continues to be a welcome break for colleagues.
I thank both the staff and police officer Benevolent Funds for considering and approving our application for funds to support consumables used in the van. This means that police staff also get a brew when we are out and about.
We maintain our holiday homes and have seen growth in the use of these since our price restructuring to make them even more affordable. Bookings are virtually full to capacity over the next year and are envisaged to continue into 2022.
The Group Insurance and Healthcare Schemes are in an excellent position, not by luck, but by good management and investment, and looking for efficiency in everything we do. They both offer market-leading products at colleague-friendly pricing.
Although the schemes are run by the Federation Executives under Trust, they are not a PFEW business. We run them for the benefit of colleagues, partners and retirees.
For those members of the Group Insurance Scheme, you are entered into a monthly prize draw for the chance to win top prizes such as an iPad, PS5 or Xbox One.
So what does the future hold in 2021? We have heard that there will be a public sector pay freeze next year.
Just to make clear, this is the annual pay award and it does not effect yearly pay increments.
However, this pay freeze is a kick in the teeth for the public sector workers who have been at the front line dealing with COVID-19 and all it brings. Hopefully, we will soon have a vaccine that means we can start returning to some kind of normality.
Locally, we will not be resting on our laurels, we will continue to review what we do and how we deliver for our colleagues.
We will sustain pressure on our local politicians to ensure that our members are looked after in respect of pay and conditions.
We will continue to do our bit, by providing the best training and support to your local Reps, not losing sight of who we are and how we started on the journey.
Members come first.
Thank you for your continued support and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the best for 2021.
West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman
Date posted: December 7, 2020