The Police Federation national conference 2021 began today with a welcome from Prime Minister Boris Johnson – something facilitator Ian Collins described as “something we’ve never had before”.
Before the Prime Minister spoke, Ian asked national chair John Apter if the title of this year’s conference, ‘Policing Under Pressure’, was a reflection of “areas of policing that have been more than a tad grey over the last year”.
John explained: “Some of policing has actually been intolerable, hence the title of this year’s conference. We would rather all be together for this event but we cannot. This is going to be like any other event now and there are 1,100 people registered.”
Mr Johnson then told conference he was grateful for the work of police officers during the pandemic. He said: “A huge thank you for your incredible policing and work to keep people safe during this awful pandemic.
“As I could never have imagined forcing pubs and restaurants to close and telling people they couldn’t be together, I bet policing those restrictions was not something you ever dreamt of doing but you did it because you knew it was how we would protect lives and the NHS.”
He went on to talk about the Government’s commitment to supporting the police service in a number of ways including recruitment and the Police Covenant.
“There are already 8,371 new recruits which means we are 44 per cent of the way to our target of 20,000 by 2023,” he said, “We have also supported you with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which gives you new powers to deal with highly disruptive protests and the new Policing Covenant to make sure you get the respect and support you deserve.”
The PM added: “We are going to make sure you have the tools you need to make our streets safer and get on with the job you signed up to do. I wish you luck with conference 2021.”