Chair looking forward to building on progress

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe has agreed to push back his retirement date to complete his second term after being re-elected to serve another three years in office. 

Steve took over the role in 2020 after a relatively short period of time as a workplace rep and is now looking forward to building on his initial achievements.

Speaking after his re-election, he said: “It’s fantastic news, I’m really excited and will push my retirement back to complete the term.

“We want to make the branch the best we can by raising our profile and keeping up the momentum around pay, keeping up the pressure around PSD investigations and pushing hard on timescales and suspensions. 

“But I would really like to influence opinion about policing as something precious and work to dispel the negativity when we don’t get it right. 

“I think it would be really good if we could have a voice around student officers and re-looking at a really clunky system for initial training.”

Steve Thorpe is looking forward to a new three-year term of office

Steve first became a workplace rep in June 2019 after being encouraged to put himself forward for the role by colleagues and was then elected as branch chair just over a year later in October 2020.

He said: “I wanted to help my colleagues and coming to the end of my service seemed a really good use of my experience in the police. 

“Having used the services of the Police Federation previously, I wanted to pass that on. When I first joined the police I always thought the chair of the Federation was something to aspire to.

“When I became a rep and more embedded into the work of the Police Federation, I realised I wanted to aspire to the role of chair: to inspire, advise and help my colleagues and the next generation coming through.”

Steve said he took great pride in the number of officers he and the branch had been able to help since he became chair and listed building relationships both within and outside the Police Federation among his key achievements so far.

He said:  “I have built bridges across the organisation with the Police Federation. I genuinely believe I can go anywhere and have a conversation - not always welcome - to discuss matters sensibly.

“I have built meaningful relationships with our local MPs, certainly the most extensive within Wales, and also built influential support for policing in Westminster. 

“The most recent example of this was an open letter to the Home Secretary which was signed by the Gwent MPs on behalf of Gwent Police Federation.”

Steve said future challenges for Gwent Police Federation included dealing with issues arising from the lack of legally qualified chairs for the growing number of disciplinary hearings starting to stack up.

He said further uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic was creating ongoing difficulties within policing and also warned that, after recruiting extensively, Gwent Police was now entering a period of significant retirements which could prove challenging.

Steve also predicted more sophisticated and educated criminal minds would start to exert influence across an unsuspecting vista of public opinion.

And he also raised concerns about the continued ambiguous messaging officers were receiving around pay and pensions, a lack of confidence in a misconduct system that is not timely and a change in public perception and attitudes towards policing.