Safety review: changes must be made

The secretary of Gwent Police Federation has called for the findings of a review into police safety to be swiftly implemented.

Nicky Ryan has welcomed a wide-ranging Officer and Staff Safety Review report from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing which makes 28 recommendations to improve officer safety.

The review was commissioned by NPCC chair Martin Hewitt after a spate of attacks on officers – last year there were 30,679 assaults on police officers in England and Wales, or 84 a day.

The recommendations include a review of equipment, the overhaul of safety training, and a new College of Policing led national curriculum so every officer receives the same standard of tuition.

In addition, the findings contain a commitment to officers and staff about the minimum standard of support and communication they would receive should they suffer an assault, and a pledge to consider rolling out ‘Operation Hampshire’ - the seven-point plan to reduce assaults – further. The initiative was started locally in his home force by John Apter who is now national Federation chair.

The report also calls for training for roads policing officers, improved equipment and further research on the link between shift work and safe driving practices with the review having identified the high number of officer deaths as they travelled to and from work.

Nicky said: “Our members do a unique job and their safety is of paramount importance. They are human and have every right to return home to their families after each shift.

“The public will be appalled at the assaults on officers, particularly in light of the brave and tireless work they’ve done throughout the pandemic.

“We welcome this report, but it must not be allowed to gather dust. We want to see its findings implemented quickly to make a real difference to the safety of our members.

“It’s critical they receive the right training and have access to the best equipment to keep themselves and the public safe.”

The national Federation also backed the report’s recommendations.

National vice-chair Ché Donald said: “There are many good points raised in this review, with much good work already in play. However, chief officers must now take swift action to implement?all immediately, so they are meaningful, make a tangible difference and are directly felt by officers on the ground.”

And he added: “Along with the majority of the public, the Federation is appalled by the atrocious levels of violence colleagues have faced recently and has been demanding action. That’s why we welcomed this review and want to see its finding make a real difference.

“All too often my colleagues are not treated as victims when they are assaulted, leaving them feeling failed by supervisors and the criminal justice system, as they have made clear in this officer and staff survey.

“It is only right officers have the very best equipment, training and support for the dangerous job they do; we made this crystal clear in PFEW’s evidence to the review.”