<<< Continued from p15

the degree of hostility was so fierce and so widespread. It would have been far better if I hadn’t done it. I took the decision at the time based on the best information I had. In hindsight - and you asked me do I wish I hadn’t done it - yes, I wish I hadn’t done it. I haven’t worn it since, and expect I’ll

donate it to the Museum of the College of Policing, if there ever is one.

6 An honest and forthright opinion of the Fed

JA: In your role you interact at a national level and local level with Federation reps. My colleagues and I have been working hard to rebuild relationships, as in the past we’ve had a fractious relationship with Government and some aspects of policing. What’s been your experience of working with the PFEW locally and nationally. STW: Well, to begin with it was terrible - but that’s going back ten years. At the beginning of the pay review, the then leadership of PFEW assured me - in the very first meeting I had with them - that they would always play the ball, never the man. They just didn’t stick to that, and the personal attacks from some quarters were severe.

When I was doing the pay review, with

the Fed it was difficult sometimes to make progress. In terms of the Fed’s attitude, it was quite hostile. But since then, and of course with changes in the leadership of the Fed, the hostile attitude the Fed had taken towards politicians has diminished. The result is politicians at local, and certainly at national level, are much more prepared to listen. Some of the scenes we saw at Fed conferences: how much good were they doing? None at all: not only in the eyes of the politicians, but also in the public’s eyes. It really didn’t do the Fed any credit. The engagement that you John, and your most recent predecessors, have had with the political establishment and with other policing institutions has been far more effective. JA: I understand why we went through that period. It was an incredibly damaging and frustrating time and felt personal. My priority is always my colleagues. But as the first nationally elected Chair, it’s been my role to strike a balance and make sure politicians, HMIC or chief officers think of the Fed as a credible voice. Having a constructive relationship doesn’t however mean to say you are best friends. But we appreciate your candid comments. Thank you, Sir Tom.


PFEW National Chair John Apter answers members’ questions each month

Q1: The online Inspectors’ exam was a fiasco due to the College of Policing’s IT troubles. So how do we know the Sergeants’ exam will run smoothly? The Inspectors’ exam was a nightmare that should never have happened. The remedy put in place was the best we could get and the fairest way to resolve it. The Sergeants’ exam is coming soon, and we have reassurances that measures are in place to avoid a repeat. The College knows the pressure is on.

Q2: Boris Johnson has promised more funding for policing Covid, so where would you want that money spent? We will grab the money with both hands, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is anything other than a sticking plaster. There are no new ofcers, just existing ones doing overtime or giving up rest days. That is not sustainable and what we need is a long-term funding formula to allow Chief Constables to forward-plan.

Q3: How is PFEW holding Forces to account for poor health and safety? Every Federation branch has health and safety-trained reps who will use

legislation where they see fit. I would support any rep in challenging their force to bring about improvements where ofcers have been failed. At the national level we take an active role in training to make sure we’ve got the right people with the skills and knowledge.

Q4: Why is there such inconsistency around Forces’ IT and safety training? That lack of consistency is a massive frustration. Some Forces have great IT and others don’t. Some have adequate ofcer safety training and others are very poor. It’s something Forces must get to grips with. Excellent IT, where ofcers can access information at the click of a button or on the street, makes the job easy. All Forces should work with each other and aspire to have in place the very best standards.

Q5: Covid has added lots of pressure to policing. Are relations still strong between PFEW and the Home Ofce? In times of crisis, relations are always tested, but we’ve still got direct access to the Home Secretary and others. Relations are positive, and long may that continue, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges.

Have you a question to ask John Apter? Email:


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36