Police Covenant Annual Report

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

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Tuesday 26th March 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Written Statements
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James Cleverly Portrait The Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Cleverly)
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I am delighted to lay before Parliament the second annual report for the police covenant. The report will also be available on www.gov.uk.

The police covenant aims to provide recognition by Government, policing and society as a whole of the sacrifices involved in working in policing, with the intention of ensuring that members of the police workforce suffer no detriment as a result of their role.

Since the first police covenant report was laid before Parliament in May 2023, significant progress has been made on all priorities. Several additional priorities have also been delivered successfully.

A major issue identified early on in the development of the police covenant was a need to better link across to the NHS and to develop a greater understanding of the impacts of policing among certain parts of the medical profession. To address this, we have appointed a permanent chief medical officer who will work to bridge the work of the NHS with the needs of the policing community through the new clinical governance group workstream. We have also seen training developed for general practitioners on the specific needs of the police workforce, which has now been shared with the Royal College of General Practitioners.

We have also taken steps to address issues around officer and staff roadside safety with new sentencing guidelines for situations where a car is used as a weapon.

This year, the Home Office sought to expand the police covenant further by incorporating new priorities and initiatives to combat the ever-changing challenges faced by police. In doing so, we have been able to identify and incorporate four new priorities into the police covenant:

tackling fatigue within the workforce;

providing, for the first time, proactive suicide prevention resources for forces and individuals;

the creation of a new authorised professional practice specifically centred around wellbeing; and

re-purposing the Operation Hampshire priority to focus on efficient data gathering for assaults on police.

The remaining workstreams continue to be priorities for the covenant. This year, there has been a particular effort made to understand and find the most effective support for police families and police leavers, leading to the creation and further development of resources to help these groups.

Our police officers and staff put themselves in challenging and dangerous situations daily for the benefit and protection of the communities they serve. It is vital that our police workforce feels supported, not just by the statements that go out from Government and Parliament, but also in the actions we take to look after them. That is why I particularly welcome the improvements in how the covenant is being publicised by the Home Office, forces and the national police wellbeing service.

It has been this Government’s privilege to support the improvements being made to police wellbeing. In taking forward the work of the covenant over the past year, I am grateful for the support, professionalism and collaboration of our valued policing partners including the College of Policing, National Police Chiefs’ Council, the staff associations and unions, the chief medical officer, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, the Welsh Government and non-Home Office forces for their vital contributions.

This Government will continue to push to progress and deliver the police covenant. We have a duty to support and protect the wellbeing of the police and that should never be forgotten.