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BluePrint: Calling for a brighter future for our police officers

Police Oracle launches campaign calling on the government to fulfil its duty of protecting officers both in the job and when they have been forced out of the service due to physical injuries or mental trauma.

BluePrint: Calling for a brighter future for our police officers

Date - 26th January 2017
By - Martin Buhagiar, editor
26 Comments 26 Comments}

Underpaid, overworked, underrated, underappreciated.

Just some of the responses police officers gave in a recent Police Oracle survey.

Hit hard by years of unprecedented Government cuts, our boys and girls in blue have been left battered and bruised by the public it serves.

A police officer is assaulted every 22 minutes.

Thousands every month, more than 500 a week or nearly 100 a day. In the last year 23,394 police officers were assaulted in England and Wales.

It is not just the physical marks that remain. What about the mental scars that invariably take longer to heal?

Mental health issues for serving officers have become an increasing concern for the Police Federation and the service overall.

The Federation says resilience in the service is at an all-time low while officers are being put under inordinate amounts of pressure. This is clearly taking its toll on their health and wellbeing. 

A survey by the Fed of 17,000 officers earlier this year revealed an alarming set of statistics with 39 per cent seeking help with mental health issues.

More than a quarter of officers who have taken sick leave attributed it to stress, depression or anxiety, while 65 per cent said they still went to work even though they felt uncomfortable doing so because of the state of their mental wellbeing. 

A survey by mental health charity Mind was even more alarming. It revealed five per cent of those interviewed in the emergency services had made an actual attempt to take their own life.

So what can be done?

In September 2007 The Royal British Legion launched a campaign which accused the government of failing to meet its commitments under what was then called the Military Covenant.

Today, under the banner of our BluePrint campaign, Police Oracle accuses the government of failing to meet its obligation of protecting our officers both in the job and, particularly, when they have been forced out of the service because of physical injuries or mental trauma.

The Legion highlighted the case of a 23-year-old paratrooper, injured in battle, who was awarded £152,150 despite injuries requiring care for the rest of his life.  

As illustrated above, Police Oracle can highlight the plight of hundreds, if not thousands, of police officers who will require care after being injured on duty.

It is all too easy for tabloids and MPs to criticise the police service citing misconduct hearings or unfavourable HMIC or IPCC reports. However, it is important to remember there will always be a few bad apples in a workforce 120,000-plus strong. The vast majority being hard-working officers who will put their safety at risk to help and serve the British public.

The Armed Forces Covenant’s funding priorities for April 2016 to March 2017 and April 2017 to March 2018 are as follows:

Priority 1: Veterans’ Gateway

Priority 2: Families in stress

Priority 3: Strengthening local government delivery of the covenant

Priority 4: Community integration

Like The Royal British Legion when it sought to protect members of the Army, Police Oracle believes the Government is failing to meet its responsibility to the country’s police officers.

This includes staffing issues, equipment, the terms and conditions of their working life but particularly the impact the job can have on police officers.

Since 1792 more than 4,000 officers have died in the line of duty according to the National Memorial Day organisation.

Since 1945, more than 250 officers have been shot.

Since January 1st, 2010, 51 police officers have died on duty while serving the public.

Who is helping their families?

Notable police historian Charles Reith, during his studies in 1956, said our philosophy of policing was ‘unique in history and throughout the world because it derived not from fear but almost exclusively from public co-operation with the police, induced by them designedly by behaviour which secures and maintains for them the approval, respect and affection of the public’. Policing by consent.

Police Oracle calls on the Government to acknowledge and protect our unique service, the best in the world as stated by politicians themselves, by introducing a Police Covenant.

This would see an annual Covenant Fund set up.

Much in the way the £10million per annum Armed Forces Covenant accepts applications to support the armed forces community, we would suggest the Police Covenant works in a similar way.

Officers forced to retire, in need of modifications at home, physiotherapy, mental health assistance or families left with no father or mother would all be able to apply to the trust for grants.

The covenant will also see injured police officers prioritised for operations or hospital treatment and will offer council tax relief for officers unable to work.

Police Oracle will lobby politicians, launch a petition and call on the extended Police Family to support our campaign.

Now, more than ever before, you, our police officers need to be backed. Police Oracle will fight for your right to be supported by the government when you need it. And, during their darkest days, we will rally to see a Police Covenant established to help grieving families when all other doors remain closed.

We know it is ambitious. At the very least we will ask the government to support officers with a large, annual, grant so those who need can apply for help. We want to see the fund extended to the families of officers still alive who need financial assistance.

There is no doubt those who serve in our Armed Forces deserve their covenant. Who could argue that police officers deserve any less?

Of the Military Covenant, the Ministry of Defence said:

"In putting the needs of the Nation, the Army and others before their own, they forgo some of the rights enjoyed by those outside the Armed Forces. So, at the very least, British soldiers should always expect the Nation and their commanders to treat them fairly, to value and respect them as individuals, and to sustain and reward them and their families."

Change the word army to police forces, armed forces to police service and British soldiers to British police officers. Is there really any difference?

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OverSpecialist

OverSpecialist - Thu, 26 January 2017
Thank you for this initiative.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 26 January 2017
Long, long overdue, and a major failing of Central and Local Governments!
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 26 January 2017
The Military Covenant is an empty vessel. There is no statutory power, no underpinning law, no commitment in writing or in Hansard. If, in the face of returning wounded veterans and the devastated families of the dead of our recent wars we cannot persuade government to support those that gave all they had I do not expect this regime of self-interested, cop-hating Daily Mailites to give us anything other than continued contempt.
I thank you for your effort and your support, but I suspect I know what the response will be.
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Paul

Paul - Thu, 26 January 2017
Perhaps we could start with our own leaders actually doing something rather than just being self serving self interested individuals to whom the public and junior ranks are a disposable asset to enable them to reach the top?
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 26 January 2017
Is this a joke Oracle, you don't seriously think that Rudd and her boss car a 'fig' about police officers. They are only interested in themselves, police officers are just numbers doing a job.
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147's Grandson

147's Grandson - Thu, 26 January 2017
Let's cut the cynicism and negative remarks and each of us get fairly and squarely behind this initiative-- it's no more than the members, current and former, of the police service deserve. What or who we need is a major politician/celebrity/ journal (as well as the PO) to do some tub thumping for us. Any ideas? A 100,000, signatures on a petition means it must be debated in parliament- with over 120,000 serving officers plus thousands more retired officers that target should be easy to meet.
Don't just shrug your shoulders and say "It'll never get off the ground"-- make it work!!!
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 26 January 2017
Great idea PO. Sadly Rudd & May will make it their priority to make sure this never happens. They don't just not care about us. They hate us!
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Ian

Ian - Thu, 26 January 2017
Thank you PO for this welcome initiative. Your timing may well prove to be very wise. As crime levels start to expose the fragility of what is left of our Service I predict the Government welcoming this opportunity to gesture that they are supporters of the Police. I wish them every success in expunging their record since 2010.
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Poraic

Poraic - Thu, 26 January 2017
Police Oracle, you are to be congratulated on a well thought out initiative. Like some on this page i do not expect this government (especially a Tory one) to give a fig about the police. I would advise that you need to garner sufficient public support behnd this in order to drive this forward. As others here have alos stated, it would be nice to see the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) also coming out in support but i won't hold my breath. Good work PO and keep it up. Nice to know someone has our backs.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 26 January 2017
@Poraic NPCC will do precisely what they are told to by HMG as they have done for the last 6 years. You will not hear any support from a single one of them unless they have one foot out the door on the way to retirement aka BHH. Any initiative seen to support the front line goes against government policy which NPCC are wedded to.
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DT

DT - Thu, 26 January 2017
What a great idea. Thank you, Police Oracle, for coming up with it.
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Neil S

Neil S - Thu, 26 January 2017
It might help if the police bosses just abide by the existing Police Regulations, the Law & Stated Cases in how they deal with injured offficers etc. Some Federation & NARPO Offices are also a bit slow in offering support. Please visit & support the Injury On Duty Pensioners Association (http://iodpa.org/)
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 26 January 2017
@Neil S You have posted what I was going to about IODPA. PO well done and thank you as a former injured on duty and retired officer.
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Michael

Michael - Thu, 26 January 2017
PO well done and thank you so very much.

However there is much you can do, at no cost, to significantly improve conditions for frontline officers. The injustices suffered by police officers at the hands of PSDs and the IPCC have a hugely negative impact upon morale and therefore efficiency. Ditto for the disgracefully behaved spoilt and grasping children masquerading as senior officers. Publish those stories; keep the spotlight on the real 21st. Century corruption issues.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Fri, 27 January 2017
Years ago when an officer was killed in the line of duty every officer put in £1 that went to the family. A trust fund could be set up if every PC voluntarily donated £1, PS £2, Insp £3, Ch Insp £4, Supt £5, Ch Supt £6 and ACPO £10 just once a year every year - it would be a start! And see if The Sun would support the "Blue Covenant" like they root for the troops.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Fri, 27 January 2017
I have been shocked to the core by reading of the appalling treatment of disabled former officers, and of injured serving officers, by some forces. This abuse of the Regulations intended to provide for officers injured in the line of duty is a national scandal. The evidence is all there on the Injured On Duty Pensioners Association web site www.iodpa.org
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Fri, 27 January 2017
I applaud the sentiment. I hope it gains traction and the organisers are to be thanked. However, the Tories hate the police with a vengeance. They are led by the most police hating Tory of them all (possibly with the exception of lying Mitchell and his arrogant mate, Davies). They will never allow the public to be encouraged to sympathise with us. The issue is we are a threat to them and the rest of their mates in Parliament, involved in corruption and criminality. Expenses scandals, rent boys, drugs, cash for questions, misuse and improper disclosure of information, fraud. Groups of people involved in this sort of institutional corruption can't afford to allow the police to get too uppity.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Sat, 28 January 2017
I am very thankful for this it should have been set up long ago. The way this country treats its police and other is sick I don't know of any other country that shows such contempt and hatred for its military and emergency services
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Sat, 28 January 2017
Absolutely!
I wish the best possible outcome for this, I also wish that the support was there six/seven years ago. I may still have a career, a marriage and a full nights sleep!
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Sun, 29 January 2017
Can you see the huge mass of NPCC rank officers forming up to fully support this initiative and ensuring it gets raised and supported at the highest levels in government. No neither can I. Nothing in it for them.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Sun, 29 January 2017
Get rid of that vacuous Thornton woman would be a great start, and get people in NPCC who will actually care about the lads and lasses, and fight for them, and not just be looking after themselves.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Sun, 29 January 2017
Good luck with this, I appreciate the sentiment and hope it works.
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Michael

Michael - Mon, 30 January 2017
@Anonymous. Correct. Try and investigate any fraud that goes within a thousand miles of a MoD defence contractor and see what happens to you, your career and your physical and mental health.

This Tory administration of tax dodgers and liars profess to support the police. Hot air. Their actions show they hate the Police and are well on the way to privatising them. UK policing will then be forced to concentrate solely on council estates.

This initiative is most welcome but will only be supported by frontline officers unless an NPCC rising star smells an opportunity to do so.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 09 February 2017
Hear Hear totally agree :)
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Thu, 16 February 2017
Doubt this anti-Police Government will listen. I hope and pray something will be done.
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Anonymous

Anonymous - Mon, 20 March 2017
Honestly this is like the fire brigade turning up to a house fire that has taken hold of the parked cars outside but only putting their hoses on the cars whilst letting the trapped occupants inside the house (i.e. Our PENSIONS) - DIE.
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