Today’s columnist, Neil Bowles: The force needs consistency

Police Fedeartion chairman Neil Bowles, who is based at Maltby Police Station.
Police Fedeartion chairman Neil Bowles, who is based at Maltby Police Station.

Well what can I write about this month? Nothing much has happened in the policing world here in South Yorkshire has it?

The Hillsborough Inquest verdicts; three chief constables in a week; the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and more calls for an inquiry into the events at Orgreave 32 years ago. However, I think these issues have been saturated with opinion from all quarters in the last few weeks. So what is important to my members, the rank-and-file officers?

We all joined the Force to help the public, keep them safe and lock up the bad guys.

To support us in performing our duties we need two things. Firstly the British policing model is that of policing by consent, and has been since Robert Peel created the Metropolitan Police in 1829.

We cannot be successful if we do not have the support and confidence of the public we police. One would think that SYP may have lost this. So far I have not seen any evidence though within our communities.

Secondly, we do not operate independently of each other. We need an infrastructure to support us with the right resources when we need them; the guidance of policy and local, national priorities to work towards. This includes every member of police staff in the organisation and of course our senior command team to lead, support, empower, develop, set vision and purpose.

It’s this latter part that is missing, as there is no continuity of leadership.

I have mentioned the three Chief Constables in a week. What a farce, through no fault of the individuals concerned. I have spoken to the interim Chief Constable, Dave Jones, and he is aware of the Federation views on the current situation.

His intent is to do what any new Chief Constable would do, review the force and set up a long-term strategy so the permanent Chief can hit the ground running. I just hope the new CC sees the worth in this and does not start the whole process again.

Its not just the Chief Constable post that is a concern. We have had a recent change in Deputy Chief Constable and in the last three years we have had six Assistant Chief Constables. Our finance director, is now covering that role in Humberside Police as well, while we also share an HR director.

We know nothing is constant and change is part of life and society, but we do need some consistency of leadership to support the vital role of policing this county.