As a representative organisation, the Scottish Police Federation’s strength and power lies in its network of part time representatives (reps). These volunteers, elected by their colleagues and peers, represent all areas of the country and influence the welfare and efficiency of policing in Scotland through our three Area Committees .
Once elected, reps will be trained in equality, conduct and health and safety. They will be exposed to broad aspects of policing and invited to shape policy, views and thinking. Reps can become involved in a diverse range of workstreams, represent the SPF at Divisional Command meetings, advocate for and support officers through grievances, conduct matters, employments issues and absences. The spectrum of work carried out by the SPF surprises many. Much of it goes unseen and unheard either due its confidential nature or because it has been preventative.
There are currently three Area Committees, North, East and West each of which has elected representatives at Constable, Sergeant and the Inspecting ranks. As people are promoted, retire or move to different roles there is a continual rotation of vacancies resulting in elections in each of the geographical areas.
What makes the SPF strong is our diversity; background, length of service, experience and knowledge all play their part in giving us broad views and perspectives.
If you are someone who wants to add expand their horizons, who want to help their colleagues and who is willing to take on a challenging role, please contact other representatives within your area or ask for a call back through the website.
Here are the experiences of just some of our reps currently in post;
Sgt Jennie MacFarlane
I have been a fed rep for over 10 years. It is without a doubt one of the most rewarding roles I have had during my time in the police. Over the years I have assisted officers who are absent from work due to ongoing long term illness, those who are pregnant, on maternity leave, require reasonable adjustments, require flexible work plans, find themselves the subject of conduct enquiries, this list goes on.
I have been humbled by some of the officers I have worked with and it never ceases to amaze me the pressures and commitments that some are juggling. It is incredibly rewarding when you are able to find a way to make life more manageable for them and find them the support that they need.
On a more personal level the knowledge that I have accrued and the training that I have received has assisted me in my own daily role as a supervisor. Being a Federation Rep has also increased my awareness of the diverse workforce we have and why it is so important to acknowledge that different officers need different types and levels of support.
I would encourage anyone who has an interest to step forward and put their name forward. It isn’t always the easiest task and there are some who have preconceived ideas of the Federation but the benefits far outweigh that and it is something that very few regret doing.
PC Stevie Neilson
I have been a Divisional Rep for the past 4 years. I have over this time been able to assist officers of all ranks with a wide and varying range of issues. I am there to provide advice/guidance, which sometimes isn’t what the officers want to hear.
It can be a demanding role but also a very rewarding one too. There are different areas of the Federation where you can get further training. I would recommend joining the Federation to anyone.
PC Shirley Moran
I’m a federation rep and have been for a number of years. You may ask yourself what does a fed rep do? I did. I thought it was just about answering overtime claims or can they change my rest days those everyday things that affect us all. I was wrong.
The role of a rep is varied and can cover any kind of query. I’ve been involved in a number of equality related issues such as flexible working and pregnancy and maternity ensuring the relevant work place assessments have been carried out and plans are set to meet the needs of the officer. It goes without saying when you can help a colleague and get the right outcome for them you realise that’s why you’re a fed rep. There are many issues you can help with including health and safety and conduct issues. Conduct can cover sitting with an officer whilst a PIRC interview is carried out or being a point of contact if an officer is under enquiry and assisting them with getting the correct legal advice.
It really is a wide and varied role and if you have ever thought could I be fed rep the answer is yes. Get involved because we can all sit and moan about things that affect us as police officers but you really can help your colleagues by being a rep. You have plenty of people on hand to help you with any advice you need to carry out the role.
Insp Catherine Glass
One of the reasons I became a rep was that there are so few reps at inspecting rank. For me personally as a rep I like to contribute to ensuring that anyone who comes to me for advice is afforded the opportunity of fairness.
I like being in a position that by being a rep and attending the West Area Committee I have more knowledge about what’s going on in the service than others and can help people with the topical issues that affect people most.
As an advanced trim assessor for 8 years & a well-being champion it was also a natural step for me. I am naturally an empathetic person and care about the well-being of people when they are worried about conduct or any other issue due to my own personal experiences having been investigated so can relate to & support people in similar situations.
I have a breadth of experience in ARV’s, SFU, firearms training & have been a principle officer at 3 PIMS (2 shootings as an ARV officer and 1 shooting as a negotiator). I’ve worked in response, armed policing, training, road policing and now as an inspector in LPT & I feel that I can relate to what goes on in most areas of business & feel that as a result of my experiences I can offer more as a rep. As you can see my heart lies in operational policing.
Being a rep has also opened other doors to enhance my knowledge of H&S as I conduct office inspections in my current role, it has also further enhanced my knowledge by becoming the lead for Equality and Diversity in U division.
Ultimately though I became a rep to help others & I take pride in giving back what was provided to me by a SPF rep at a time when I needed it most.
I’d encourage anyone who has a natural want to help others & someone who strives to “do the right thing” to apply to become a rep.
Insp Norman Towler
I am often asked what a local fed rep does and why? My answer is simply it’s to help answer the questions colleagues have, support them during the good and hard times and most of all be there when they need us.
I get the opportunity to listen to colleagues and other fed reps from various divisions and there are always common themes. I can then take that learning and table those questions and challenges to divisional senior management and also to Force exec level.
My experience and time as a fed rep have been, at times, the most rewarding of my career by assisting colleagues and their families. We often say the Police is a big family and in my view it still is.
PC Dougie Chalmers
During my Police service I was often the “go to” guy when supervisors would refuse overtime, offer the wrong payment rate or some other query involving Police regulation. I learned from early on to “know what you are entitled to” and always kept that up.
So, when SPF elections came along, I was encouraged to stand as a divisional rep by some colleagues. I did and it’s one of the most rewarding things I have done in my police service. As an SPF rep I have assisted colleagues through the discipline process, steered them through the grievance process, helped them gain work plans that meet family needs, helped colleagues access counselling and expert medical assistance, dealt with employment disputes as well as making sure Police Scotland provides a safe work environment. My work as an SPF rep is something I am extremely proud of.