Home Secretary Priti Patel has commended the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) for working to repair the damaged relationship with the Government and for ‘admirably fighting for his members every single day’.
Ms Patel was speaking after opening the second reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill yesterday (15 March).
The bill includes provision for a Police Covenant, the doubling of the maximum sentence for those who assault police and emergency service workers, better legal protections for police drivers and a change to regulations to allow Special Constables to join the Federation.
Ms Patel said: “We ask our brave police officers to do the most of difficult jobs. They run towards danger to keep us all safe. That is why I’ve worked closely with the Police Federation in developing this bill.
“And I’d like to pay tribute to the chair of the Police Federation, John Apter, for his constructive way of working since I became Home Secretary, admirably fighting for his members every single day. He’s voiced his concerns to me directly and I have acted upon them.”
John responded by saying his relationship with Ms Patel was important: “The Home Secretary’s comments are a testament to the hard work the Federation has done to build relations with Government to enable this current bill to be discussed.
“Since I came into this post, I’ve worked hard to build relationships because they were incredibly damaged. But a damaged relationship doesn’t achieve anything. Whether it’s having a private conversation with the Home Secretary, explaining to her that an officer has been really badly injured and assaulted and giving her the background so that she knows the realities of policing first hand, or getting legislation over the line, it is important that we have that relationship.
“Having a constructive relationship doesn’t mean that we always agree. When we disagree, as we have over the pay freeze, pensions and priority for the vaccine, I don’t sugar coat it, and I think the Home Secretary respects that.
“We’ve achieved a tremendous amount with this Bill, through good relationships, effective lobbying and working with MPs across all parties. We have seen a change in tone about policing from government.”
He also said “pulling up the drawbridge” that would not achieve anything, adding: “Whether we like it or not we have to work with politicians and all others across policing to get our voice heard, and I’ll continue to do that.”