The new chair of Gwent Police Federation says his latest role feels like a natural progression and that it is a position he has aspired to since first joining the Federation.
Steve Thorpe left his role as neighbourhood response sergeant in Monmouthshire to take on his new full-time position following the retirement of the previous branch chair, Maria Henry.
“Maria has left big shoes to fill but I couldn’t have asked for a better, more helpful team. I have a personal goal to become as accomplished as possible when dealing with conduct and fairness matters that have a huge impact on our members who are often suspended for extensive periods,” he says.
“I’m still learning but it seems to me that the key is balance and an open mind when presented with opposing views. I have always been, and will continue to be, immensely proud of being in the British police and now the chair of Gwent Police Federation.
“I take great pride in my work and I hope that comes across. Most of all, the feeling of helping a colleague is priceless indeed.”
Steve first became a rep in 2019 after being encouraged to do so by his peers. He also says he wanted to give something back.
“Having used the Federation’s services, I wanted to do the same for others who needed support and give something back to members. In the Federation we are in a very privileged position of being able to help support the officers who do so much to help others,” he explains.
“The best part is when there is a positive result and I know I have done my absolute best for the officer. The hardest part for me is delivering difficult messages but the reality is that we can’t help everybody in the way we would like to. But I will always do my best to ensure that whatever I do is the best for our members.”
Steve has completed his initial Federation training, including fairness and conduct courses, and says suicide intervention and resilience training is on the agenda, as well as health and safety, a media course and ongoing on-the-job training for the chair role.
He wants other members to consider becoming more involved in the Federation.
“I would encourage anyone from any background to become a Fed rep but certainly where we are under-represented. It can be very rewarding supporting our members when they really need it but an officer must be clear about choosing the role because it’s not always easy and will bring additional obligation on top of an increasingly busy day job,” Steve explains.
“The reality of the role is vastly different to the idea I had of it. It is varied, interesting and really rewarding so I hope that continues.
“Welfare is a big thing for me so that will form a big part of the branch’s plans going forward. So will the development of a police memorial in Wales to represent Welsh policing.
“We also plan to make ourselves more accessible to members and I want to ensure we are relevant to the newer generation of officers following operation uplift and that the mix and balance of the Federation is an accurate representation of members.”