North Wales Police Federation’s secretary and chair were quick to get involved in this year’s national Federation conference.
Secretary Richard Eccles was the first delegate to pose a question to police minister Nick Hurd but only after suggesting that the MP could have a conversation with Sir Thomas Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and HM Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services.
Sir Thomas, in the previous session on the demand and capacity imbalance, had admitted that the police service was under real pressure.
Telling the policing minister that the police service was breaking people on a daily basis, Richard asked Mr Hurd what he was doing about it.
He replied that there was a clear picture that policing was very stretched, with some forces struggling to meet demand and frustration among officers that they could not do their job serving their communities properly.
The minister went on to say £460 million had been invested in policing and this was a first step towards responding to the challenges within the service. He told delegates the Federation had won the argument on funding.
Mr Hurd was taking part in a Question Time-style session in the final debate on Day 1 of the conference which is being held at Birmingham’s ICC. Other panellists were Calum Macleod, national chair, Louise Haigh, shadow minister for policing, and Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chair of the NPCC.
Earlier in the day, chair Simon Newport asked why the Government was not ‘shouting from the rooftops’ about its support of police officers.
His question, during the Protect the Protectors session on assaults and emergency response driving, was put to Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, who has championed the assaults bill which is now being considered in the House of Lords after winning the backing of cross-party MPs.
Holly said MPs were voicing their support and were better understanding and appreciating the work officers did.
Simon added that perhaps there needed to be more vocal support for police officers.
The day began with Phill Matthews, national Federation lead on conduct and performance, challenging the IOPC over the performance of its predecessor, the IPCC.
The new director general of the IOPC, Michael Lockwood, said improvements had been made, with a shift towards learning rather than punishment, more streamlined processes and an emphasis on the speed and quality of investigations. He said more improvements were still needed.
Other features of Day 1 were the presentation of the annual Women in Policing Award and breakout sessions on fatigue, women officers and protecting our streets.
Today’s agenda includes the keynote speech from the national chair, pay and conditions and breakouts on detectives and counter-terrorism.
Full reports will appear in the next edition of the North Wales Police Federation magazine.