Backing for Police Covenant

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe says he’s pleased the Police Covenant continues to have the backing of the Government.

Steve says a Police Covenant would be a big step in improving the support and protection for police and would make a difference to officers and their families.

He was speaking after the policing minister Kit Malthouse gave his support for a Police Covenant during an online question and answer session with Federation representatives.

Steve said: “As a Federation, we’ve been campaigning for a covenant that recognises the role we have in society, so it’s welcome to hear the policing minister give it his backing.

“Our members have a unique role in society and are constantly putting themselves in danger in order to protect the public.

“A Police Covenant will focus on police officers, staff and their families, the training they receive and the support they receive for physical and mental health issues.

“It will make a real difference.”

Mr Malthouse, who was questioned by Fed reps on a range of issues, listed his top three priorities as getting crime down, recruiting 20,000 new officers and ensuring the police family is “happy, safe and well-motivated”.

He said: “We’ve already recruited 4,000 and I’m confident we'll hit 6,000 before Christmas – which would be three months ahead of schedule.”

Steve said: “News that the recruitment of officers is ahead of schedule is welcome, but we want a blend of people from different parts of the community, from different backgrounds and with different experiences.

“This is an opportunity to change the face of policing and to make it more divers to reflect our communities.”

National Federation chair John Apter added: “There’s still a feeling that those more experienced in life like ex-military or public sector, policing does not want them.

“The age profile in policing is incredibly young. I don’t criticise them for that because we want keen people through the door, but we want a blend. So, we’ve got to change the tone of the messaging.”

Mr Malthouse reiterated the Government’s support for introducing police driver protections “as soon as possible”.

He also supported the idea of investigations into police officers by the Independent Office for Police Conduct should be expedited and more geared towards learning than punishment.

Mr Malthouse praised police officers for the relations they have built with communities which paid “enormous dividends” during the pandemic.

He assured Fed reps that the Government will see through its promise to double the custodial sentences for those who attack officers and said he would monitor what sentences judges hand out.

Steve said: “We need the toughest possible sentences for those who attack officers and other emergency workers to send out the message it’s unacceptable.

“No one should be assaulted just for doing their jobs, so it’s pleasing to hear the minister give his support for tougher sentences.”

  • The Police Covenant and legislation to provide police drivers with more protection in law are both included in the Police Powers and Protections Bill which is due before Parliament later this year or early in 2021.