Sarah Johnson, Gloucestershire Police Federation Chair, reflects on the year in her Christmas message to members.

Sarah said:

“As we enter this festive period, a time to share with friends and loved ones, it is also time to reflect on the past year. Gloucestershire Constabulary have said fond farewells to many friends and colleagues including our first female Chief Constable. We have experienced and dealt with police officer numbers reducing to 1042, crime not only rising, but also changing, and the pressure that this brings to an already stretched workforce should not be underestimated. The toll of this has been seen with incidents of work related stress increasing.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner has looked at overseeing the Fire Service – and our temporary Chief Constable is now confirmed in rank and will offer stability going into 2018. We have seen the introduction of spit and bite guards in Compass House, our Custody facility, a welcomed step forward to help Protect the Protectors, but I hope 2018 will see the full roll out to all operational staff. Our trial mounted section has been confirmed as a permanent fixture to help with our service delivery to the Public.

“The Constabulary has introduced a Wellbeing Board to ensure officers and staff suffering physical and psychological injuries are treated fairly and given all the support possible to air their swift and full recovery, but more to try to prevent these injuries occurring. Last month CC Hansen and PCC Surl signed the Mind Bluelight Pledge for change, a great start and in 2018 together we will reduce the stigma attached to mental health within the Constabulary.

“A supportive leadership framework with includes talent management in being introduced by Supt. Priddy who has much to deliver and ensure is established before he will be allow to retire. These positive changes are being delivered with members rather than to us which has been seen in staff survey results which show an increase in trust and fairness internally.

“The shape of the force has been reassessed and significant change is currently being embedded to make a great force even more efficient; every effort has been taken to ensure members are in roles and location that suit them and the organisation. In 2017 I have seen a much more inclusive and open delivery to members by the Constabulary, which will in turn allow officers to continue to give an excellent service to the public, despite the challenges we face.

“Over the festive period spare a though for those we are working, keeping us safe from harm, being there in the hour of need, the stalwarts of society who always do their upmost to serve the communities of Gloucestershire.

“Best wishes and I hope all your team have an excellent Christmas and New Year.”