Thought members might like to see a letter sent from Derek Barnett the President of the Police Superintendents’ Association for England and Wales on the Winsor Review Part II
The immediate headlines following the publication of the Winsor Report focused almost entirely on the recommendation to introduce annual fitness testing for police officers. Unfortunately while this provided plenty of opportunity for good headlines about overweight bobbies, it has so far obscured a series of recommendations that, if introduced, will have a profound effect on the police service.
This lengthy report will take some time to properly read and understand, however it is clear that Tom Winsor is proposing significant changes that could undermine the current status of police officers who are not employees with industrial rights, but have a unique status of Office of Constable.
Police officers are not allowed by law to belong to a trade union or be able to strike, and in return they are provided with a level of job security and an independently chaired pay board to negotiate pay and conditions. The report recommends that both elements of this bargain are removed. This appears to favour the employer without protecting the status of police officers.
One recommendation, for example, is to introduce compulsory severance for police officers despite the fact that the voluntary severance arrangements proposed in part one of the report haven’t event been implemented yet. This recommendation is based on the incorrect statement that police officers cannot be sacked for poor performance. This is not true – there are existing unsatisfactory performance procedures for officers who have poor performance or attendance.
There are some aspects of the report, such as the fast tracking of future leaders, that I believe could improve policing, however it is crucial in the coming months to consider the report carefully and ensure that the outcomes do not create unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy, nor undervalue our officers and staff, further worsening morale.
Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales