“Every day we see somebody broken, every day somebody else needs more help, and to that respect we are in crisis.”
That’s the message from Sarah Johnson, Chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation, after listening to the debates at the Police Federation of England and Wales Annual Conference.
“There remain increases in police demand which cost more money,” said Sarah.
“Whoever wins the upcoming election, there needs to be some support and guidance from the centre so that our chiefs who are trying their best to do what they can for the local communities have got the resources to do so.
“Whether that’s finances to pay for equipment or finances to pay for staff, there are greater demands put on each police force because of legislation that’s implemented. Changes, and we keep being told that we have to change and we do change, but change costs.”
Sarah agreed with the views of PFEW Chairman Steve White that policing is in crisis.
“We’ve never seen sickness levels at the rate they are. 80% of long-term sickness is down to psychological. We try our best as Federations and we go to occupational health and sometimes they don’t know where to go to get funding or what provisions are there. Surely that’s a national thing that should be driven from the centre with strong leadership from the Government?”
Speaking about the conference in general, Sarah added: “‘Protect the Protectors’ encompasses everything that we’re asking for at the moment.
“Greater protection in terms of legislation, greater equipment in terms of Taser, the acknowledgement that actually if somebody does something wrong, assaults a police officer, spits at a police officer, the forces, the members, the individuals and their families not only have the tools to deal with that but also the right support from the courts.”