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Police forces heading for 'perfect storm', PSAEW conference will be told

Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas will urge Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP to review funding and resources
Published - 04/09/2017 By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle

Police forces are heading towards a "perfect storm" due to staff cuts and new threats, according to a senior officer.

Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, president of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales, will say services across the country are based on fewer people working longer hours at the organisation's conference today.

He will urge Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP to review funding and resources at the Association's annual conference in Warwickshire today.

Mr Thomas will say: "I suggest we have a perfect storm developing comprised of fewer resources, reduced public services, new threats and a worrying increase in some types of traditional crime.

"If the model for delivering policing services in the future is fewer people working longer, each doing ever more, then I suggest that model is fundamentally flawed.

"Events and the demands on the service have demonstrated a clear case for an open, honest and transparent debate and review with government, local authorities, policeand crime commissioners, and of course the public.

"Otherwise we are being driven not by the need to provide the best possible policing service that meets the needs of the public, but primarily by the need to save money."

It comes after a survey of the Association's members found only 27 per cent had enough resources to do their job properly.

Around half had experienced symptoms of anxiety and more than a quarter signs of depression, according to the study.

More than 70 per cent had not taken all their annual leave or rest days in the past year and 94 per cent had worked or been contactable during leave time.

Mr Thomas said: "It is frankly unacceptable that the senior operational leaders in policing are under so much pressure that a quarter of them have signs of depression.

"These are people leading huge commands, some bigger than entire forces.

"These are people carrying responsibility for public safety, protecting the most vulnerable, for countering terrorism, for running firearms operations.

"It is not a healthy position for the service to be in and it definitely is not in the interests of the public."

The Association is calling for six measures to be implemented:

  • All policing employers to provide annual health screening in the next 12 months.
  • Responsibilities at superintendent level to be evenly and fairly distributed.
  • Superintendents and chief superintendents to have the necessary training, skills, equipment and support to perform the role they are asked to do effectively.
  • Wellbeing of staff to be adopted as a consistent theme in all HMIC inspections processes and management statements.
  • Chief constables to comprehensively scope the level of demand against resource at superintendent level.
  • Every force to have a system for accurately recording hours worked and proper monitoring of those hours.

Mr Hurd will say at the conference: "We know that policing, by its nature, can be a stressful and challenging job.

"So it's important that the Government acts too when and where we can add value.

"In June, the Government awarded an additional £1.5 million to Mind to ensure they are able to help those emergency service workers involved in the response to recent tragedies, and are able to receive targeted support should they need it.

"And in July, the Home Secretary awarded £7.5 million of funding from the Police Transformation Fund over three years to pilot and - if it is successful - fund a dedicated national service to help provide enhanced welfare support, for any officer or member of staff who needs it.

"I encourage you to work with this project, with the College of Policing and the Police Federation to ensure that this service is designed to meet the needs of your members and p

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