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Durham claims to be first force to offer staff free sanitary products

This provision has been made possible as a result of joint funding from the office of Durham PCC Joy Allen, the Police Federation and the Durham Police Branch of UNISON.

Free sanitary products are now available to staff at Durham Constabulary as part of a joint funding scheme which will be initially funded for a year.

Such products have been free for everyone in Scotland - including those in policing - since August last year. Durham says it is the first English force to make this provision.

Funding for the scheme, provided by the PCC, the Police Federation and UNISON, will be reviewed after the current year-long allocation ends.

Describing staff wellbeing as "integral", the force's Health Services Manager Angela Power said: "The provision of sanitary items and disposal bags enables our female colleagues to have access to items whenever and wherever they require, reduces our environmental impact, supports period poverty, reduces health risks from prolonged use of items and supports colleagues during the current cost of living crisis."

The scheme has vending machines fitted in 26 of the Constabularies’ sites, while 132 estates have received sustainably sourced disposal bags.

While grateful to the Federation and UNISON for their input, PCC Joy Allen said: "It is unacceptable that anyone should be unable to access sanitary products but this has become a reality in far too many people’s lives due to current financial pressures."

The Durham Police Federation unanimously decided to offer funding, according to General Secretary Phil Stephenson who credited Rep Sgt Louise Guest for doing the work "to make this happen".

Explaining that women account for more than two thirds of the Durham Police Unison Branch membership in line with the union's national profile, Secretary Roy Collins described supporting the scheme as "the right thing to do".

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