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President: Recent change hasn't helped public or service

Association President Gavin Thomas says some recent police reform has not improved policing for the public, officers or the service itself.

Writing in Police Professional as he approaches the end of his term as President, Chief Superintendent Thomas says the service has become more professional, more accountable and more transparent than at any point in its history.

But some developments, such as the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners which channels oversight through one single relationship, and collaborations which have proved to be fragile and inconsistent, have not delivered the expected benefits.

He also highlights the growing sense of frustration from officers that they have no influence on how their pay and conditions are determined, and says officers should have a right to expect organisational justice and fairness as they give up industrial rights on joining the service.

Ch Supt Thomas says:

“I have been a police officer for 35 years and throughout my career I have served with many dedicated, compassionate and brave people. 

“This has not changed: I see the same qualities in abundance with those joining the service today. 

“What has changed over the years is that we have become more professional, more open to change and difference, and more accountable and transparent than we have ever been in our history. 

“However, I believe some changes of recent years have not been to the benefit of the public, police officers, or the service. 

“Policing desperately needs a review from top to bottom: of its purpose, structure, governance and challenges. The service also needs money – and reviewing these four elements should ensure that the right money goes to the right places. 

“This needs to be done with the public as well as with the service and stakeholders. 

“There may be radical recommendations needed and these must be addressed by a Home Secretary and Prime Minister willing to invest in the future of policing and ensure the service is fit for purpose for years to come. The public will thank them for it. 

“This is a once in a generation opportunity, and it is needed now.”

 The full article can be read in this week’s Police Professional.

Ch Supt Thomas finishes as President of the Police Superintendents’ Association on March 25. He has served as President since 2016, and was Vice President since 2013.

He will be succeeded by Ch Supt Paul Griffiths, who has been Vice President since 2016.