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Confirmed Fed Chairs pledge action on pay and welfare

Regional Fed leads have been confirmed – and a grassroots member has ruled himself out of the top job.

Two regional Feds have confirmed Chairs who pledged to put pay top of the agenda.

Former Army officer Mark Loker is the new Chair of Avon and Somerset Fed and his official announcement made clear he would be pushing for better remuneration packages.

A previous rep for standards, he takes over from Iain Prideaux.

He said: “I want our police officers to be proud of the organisation they serve and the work that they do. But that can only come through recognition. Recognition will come through the proper remuneration – for instance we saw in COP26 that some forces gave proper remuneration to officers for the time they spent away from their families, while other forces gave none.”

And on the day force leaders committed to improving mental health support for officers, Mr Loker pledged to ensure his force delivered on it.

He said: “It’s easy to say ‘I care about your welfare’, but that doesn't mend broken bones and minds. We need senior leadership to put actions where their words are, to show support for our officers. I will be holding them to account on that.”

Andy Berry has been re-elected to be Chair of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation.

Over the next three years he will continue to drive forward improvements for members, especially around welfare, fairness and workloads.

Andy said: “I love this role, not just because it is an honour to represent our Federation members at important occasions both in force and nationally, but also because it gives me the opportunity to give an ‘unfiltered’ view of the world to our senior leaders.

“The past three years have been an unusual time for our Federation Branch and it has often felt like we have rolled from crisis to crisis,” he added.

He will be lobbying his force to improve working conditions and training: “There is the need for decent shift patterns, decent buildings to work in, the ability to be able to take leave when you need it, and fair process relating to promotion, posting and flexible working.

“The final element is the need for the Chief Constable to build a force where officers get the training they need, get the equipment to do their job, that the demands of the job are achievable, workloads are manageable and that the patrol function is recognised for the specialism it is and not just a place to breed officers for other roles.”

In the West Midlands, a former Chair has begun campaigning to stand again.

Sgt Richard Cooke, who was ordered to stand down in 2019, for sharing details of a Fed press release.

He wants members to consider if the region should rethink its reserve balance – he believes it is currently £3m – and push to secure a settlement for those affected by the botched pensions reforms.

“I think in the past we’ve been too timid with the government and I would like to work to make things a bit more transparent. Welfare and mental health are really important and we need to see actual progress,” he said.

He had been touted as a potential candidate for the race to succeed John Apter but confirmed that isn’t going to be happening.

“I want to see who the candidates are that come forward,” he said.

Sgt Cooke said he also wanted a change in messaging by the Fed when dealing with national media.

“I think we have to have a bit of a different approach to what we say. The UK spends more on international development than it does on policing. The government has chosen to defund policing by its decisions on financial provisions. We should be making this clear.”

Communication is also an issue for Mr Loker: “Police officers don’t want to have the wool pulled over their eyes – there needs to be credibility in the message.”

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