Reflecting on the past 12 months, Gloucestershire Police Federation Secretary Ian White says it has been a particularly busy year for the Federation.
“We have been assisting with the integration of dogs, specialist ops and Firearms into the Force which has been long overdue,” he says.
Gloucestershire was working in partnership with Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset on this: “But we are now self-governing, which is great,” he adds.
Ian is highly encouraged by the fact that the Federation’s voice is finally being heard by MPs. He expects to have a good dialogue in the coming year with politicians in a local capacity.
“We look forward to meeting our newly-elected local MPs and those who have been re-elected.
“Nationally, the relationship between Government and Federation has enjoyed healthy communication and produced a good dialogue, which is very encouraging,” he says.
The new Tory majority now brings all the Party’s policing promises to the forefront. How does he react to the promise of 20,000 more Officers?
“I look forward to our first batch, which will be 46 for Gloucestershire,” says Ian. But while this is all good news, he offers a note of caution.
“Recruiting Officers brings its own challenges,” he explains.
“Over the last 10 years we have sold off Police Stations and Estates, so there is a lack of space for new Officers.
“And the budget cuts have resulted in a lack of vehicles, locker storage and supply of training facilities and courses.
“This all has logistical implications. It will take a few years to get Officer numbers up,” he adds.
One area that Ian is particularly positive about is the ‘roll out of Taser’.
“We are not happy standing still and want all Officers to carry a Taser. We have been pressing for this for some time and will continue to do so.”
With regards to more scrutiny for the IOPC, Ian comments: “Locally, we are frustrated with the time it takes for complaints to be dealt with, and the impact that has on Officers’ mental health.
“We do not have enough time to deal with these issues. There is not enough consideration given in general throughout the Force. More time must be devoted to Officers’ needs.”
He stresses that conduct investigations need to be speeded up to relieve pressure on time also.
“We have new conduct rules coming in 2020, so it will be interesting to see how that evolves,” he adds.
Ian is encouraged by the new Government’s promises, but doesn’t want to get too excited, saying he is ‘cautiously optimistic’.
There’s a lot on the Federations’ agenda for the New Year, but, in the meantime, Ian has a message for the Festive season.
“I’d like to wish all our members a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
“As ever, we are eternally grateful to all those who give up time that could be spent with family and friends to be on duty and help others.”