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'Nothing tangible': Fed concerned by progress of Police Covenant

While enshrined into law under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the contents of the Police Covenant have not yet been finalised.

Police Federation Welsh lead Nicky Ryan is to meet with government officials to discuss the implementation of the Police Covenant, amid concerns that little has changed since it was signed into law.

The covenant was created as a result of a joint campaign with the Federation and Police Oracle to formalise physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for officers, staff and families.

While supported in principle by the Fed, there have long since been reservations over a lack of real progress since the covenant was legally formalised.

The Fed's Deputy Leader Tiff Lynch told Police Oracle last June that the covenant has to be "credible", and warned against it becoming "a paper exercise".

It had not been finalised at that stage, nor has it been now - despite a Home Office spokesperson promising that development was continuing "at pace".

This inactivity is of equal concern to the Welsh lead, who said Fed support for the covenant is dwindling "because there is nothing in there that’s tangible”.

Ms Ryan is now set to meet the Welsh social justice minister Jane Hutt, after Blaenau Gwent MS Alun Davies recently raised similar concerns in the Senedd after meeting with Fed officials.

The Welsh lead is hopeful that this meeting will reveal more about a covenant which "arrived with a bit of fanfare”, but has gone somewhat stale. 

She said: "I don’t think we should be naïve that everything that could sit within the Police Covenant will be achieved, but I think there are some quick wins that we can get."

Underlining that "there are so many things that don’t really work in policing around welfare”, Ms Ryan cited level of demand, the processes for ill-health retirement and the prevalence of officer assault as among the key issues.

"While almost everyone is changed by their experiences in policing, we don't want people leaving policing broken," she added.

While the Police Covenant Oversight Board meets quarterly to establish the covenant, minutes from those meetings have not been updated since May 2022.

The Home Office has attributed this to the fact that the two most recent meetings, which did take place, happened to coincide with the resignation of two Prime Ministers.

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