The Scottish Police Federation represents all police officers in the ranks of constable, sergeant, inspector and chief inspector, police cadets and special constables; over 18,500 people, 98% of all police officers in Scotland.
National Police Memorial Day 2016
“This Sunday (25th September) police officers from all over the country will gather in St Pauls Cathedral for the twelfth anniversary of the National Police Memorial Day (NPMD).
The NPMD was the brainchild of Joe Holness, then a constable in Kent Police. Joe worked for years to establish the NPMD as he (rightly) concluded it was a national disgrace that there was no single event to recognise police officers who had lost their lives in service of the public. Joe was subsequently awarded the Queens Police Medal for his outstanding and unwavering efforts on behalf of the NPMD and will once again take pride of place at this years’ service before well-earned retirement next year.
The NPMD is always a poignant event and for one day we will see the great and the good heap praise and platitudes on those we have lost as well as those who continue to serve. For a few hours at least, the contribution of police officers will be a regular feature on the television news and will receive significant cover in the Monday papers. Like our armed forces, we have become very accomplished at remembering our dead.
I always find a profound inner sadness when NPMD comes around. I don’t know the vast majority of those who have died but I feel the pain and heartache of those who loved them and those who worked with them and who mourn their loss. NPMD is also when I find myself reflecting more on why it is we can honour and look after our colleagues when they are dead but are so terrible at doing the same when they are alive.
Policing is an incredible profession. It can offer the most unbridled opportunities for elation and joy as well as deliver moments of catastrophic devastation. Laughter, anguish, pain and sorrow are amongst the daily emotions of the public we serve and also for the police officers who serve them. Innocuous incidents can change in a heartbeat and before we know it those who were there to provide help find themselves needing help.
I have been fortunate enough to have been a police officer for over 23 years. I look forward to being one for many years more. Whilst there are many constants in policing, one which strikes me is the widespread lack of genuine understanding of just how unpredictable and violent policing can be. There genuinely is no other job like it. It is a job that everyone has an opinion and a job where everyone but the police themselves are experts.
Policing and policing in this country in particular is genuinely something that has to be cherished. Whilst there are undoubted challenges, many of which are financial, our police officers are busting a gut day and daily to deliver the very best service they can to a public that increasingly looks at the police to help when others can’t or refuse to.
Police officers provide the service of last resort and that is something that should be valued and safeguarded. The ‘health’ of the police service should serve as a bellweather for the health of our wider society.
Police officers see, deal with and experience horrors with such regularity that it is nigh on impossible to comprehend. The devastation of a cot death; the horrific imagery of child abuse; the pain on a loved ones face when they are told their husband / wife / son / daughter has been killed; the shattering of the life of a victim of rape; the needless maiming of fellow human beings over nothing; the list is genuinely endless.
The psychological impact on police officers can be enormous and because it is unseen it is often dismissed.
Physical injuries are a different story. The visual effects of being battered, bruised and broken are altogether more obvious. But if they are more obvious why is there not a greater societal anger to do something about them; to demonstrate to police officers that the risks they take on the public’s behalf are appreciated in more than platitude when an officer loses their life.
I know police officers who have been stabbed; firebombed; sustained broken bones and life altering injuries. Many, many others have been kicked, punched, spat at, gouged and yet imprisonment for those who attack the police is the exception rather than the rule.
As a general principle I am not a believer in mandatory sentences but I do wonder that if the vast majority who cause harm to police officers are not imprisoned, how perverse our justice system must be when we imprison many others for less.
Police officers deserve nothing less than to be assured that they will be looked after if they come to harm while protecting others. Sentencing is massively symbolic in that. More import however is that the public has a greater appreciation of the causes of police officer absences and that the service does everything possible to rehabilitate its officers to full health and fitness as soon as possible.
It is immensely frustrating that this latter consideration is an increasingly rare thing. Police forces have largely dismissed their welfare officers and at a time when increasing numbers of Chief Constables safeguard their own well-being with tax payer funded private health insurance, occupational health provision for the masses is a poor imitation of what was once was.
Sadly the once unparalleled assistance our forces gave injured officers is a thing of the past. Many are now tolerated rather than supported and organisational sympathy is often a secondary consideration to what the finances will allow.
Perhaps the time has come to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we cannot really expect the public have a greater degree of empathy and sympathy for injured police officers when the manner in which we treat them ourselves shows we only really value them when they are no longer with us.”
Open letter from the Chairman of the SPF to all members
In our campaign “YOUR POLICE SERVICE NEEDS YOU
Cuts Are Destroying Policing.
Calling All Police Officers – Your Police Service Needs You!
As you will know the Scottish Police Federation has been at the forefront of a campaign to highlight the devastating impact of cuts to the police service.
These cuts are more than financial and are having a serious and detrimental impact on the service the public is receiving. Police officers are exhausted; demand is relentless; policing is suffering, and public confidence is falling as a result.
SPF officials from all over Scotland have over the past weeks and months been actively pursuing meetings with local and national politicians to highlight the policing realities created by political funding decisions.
Whilst politicians hide behind rhetoric that simply refuses to address the problems, it is incumbent on us to ensure the public is made aware of what police cuts mean for them.
The only way that can be done is if each and every one of us play our part in that.
Today (16th August 2016) the SPF is launching a poster campaign as a “call to arms
About the Share An Hour campaign
On 12 August 1966 three police officers were murdered on duty in London. This brutal crime shocked the nation and prompted the foundation of the Police Dependants’ Trust; a fund to support seriously injured officers and the families of officers killed on duty.
This August, fifty years on from those events, we’re asking you to Share An Hour.
By donating an hour’s pay you will not only mark the sacrifice made by Sergeant Christopher Head and Constables David Wombwell and Geoffrey Fox, but also raise money to support colleagues who find themselves in life-changing situations.
How to Share An Hour
Firstly, work out what an hour’s pay looks like for you. As a rough guide:
£20,000 p/a = £9.62 per hour
£30,000 p/a = £14.42 per hour
£40,000 p/a = £19.23 per hour
£60,000 p/a = £28.85 per hour
Alternatively you can use this handy calculator or give another amount of your choosing.
Once you have decided how much you would like to give, visit our special #ShareAnHour page on Just Giving to make your donation in a few simple clicks. If applicable, Gift Aid will be added to your donation which will make your gift go even further.
Your donations will help to fund the full range of our work. From grants which enable disabled officers to remain in independent in their own home, to help for families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty, to improving support for serving officers suffering from mental health issues, you can be sure your gift will make a difference to your colleagues.
You can read more about our work at www.pdtrust.org
Share An Hour campaign – CEOs Blog
This is an important year for the Police Dependants’ Trust. We are marking 50 years of supporting the police service and police families and have much to celebrate, but of course August offers a sombre reminder of the Trust’s beginnings.
On 12 August 1966, Metropolitan Police Officers Sergeant Christopher Head and Constables David Wombwell and Geoffrey Fox were on duty in West London when they stopped a vehicle close to Wormwood Scrubs prison. They discovered one of the occupants was carrying a gun and there were other weapons in the car.
As witness reports describe, the three officers lost their lives in brutal circumstances. The incident caused outrage across the UK; such was the public mood that a fund was quickly established to support the families of fallen officers: the Police Dependants’ Trust. Donations flooded in.
Much has changed since 1966: the make-up of the service; the nature of the incidents officers and staff deal with; the immense pressure you are under, are all very different now. Some time ago we widened the scope of our work so as to support officers who have suffered physical and psychological injuries on duty. Over the last year we have also widened both our eligibility criteria and the circumstances in which we can help. If you’re not familiar with our grants for individuals, our support for officers dealing with their own mental health issues, or the assistance towards retraining we provide for officers who have retired as a result of an injury on duty, please take a look at our quick guide to the services we offer.
So while the police service has changed, what has remained pretty constant is the demand for the support we offer. Since 1966 we have helped around 7000 officers and families; there’s as much – if not more – of a need for our services now as there ever has been. Officers and staff, especially those who have seen at first hand the life-changing impact our grants have on their colleagues, often ask us how they can help.
So with this in mind we’re hoping you will get behind our Share An Hour campaign this August and donate one hour’s pay to the Trust.
Your donation will not only support our important work, but you will be helping to raise awareness of our services amongst your colleagues and their families – some of whom may be in desperate need of help right now. Christopher Head, David Wombwell and Geoffrey Fox are just three of many officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. A great many more have suffered life-changing injuries. By committing to Share An Hour we can change lives together.
To find out more about the campaign and how you can Share An Hour for your colleagues, please visit http://www.pdtrust.org/get-involved/share-an-hour/ During August we will share uplifting stories from some of the people we have helped in recent years so you can see the difference your gift will make.
Image: Gill Scott-Moore, CEO of the Police Dependants’ Trust
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