The first Police Covenant Board meeting has been hailed as an “important step forward” by Police Federation national chair John Apter.

John joined Home Secretary Priti Patel and other senior policing figures at the meeting to oversee the implementation of the new covenant.

Board members agreed to examine a wide range of proposals to provide police officers and staff with long-term support and protection to carry out their duties, with the focus on health and wellbeing, physical safety, and support for families.

John said: “The Police Covenant is something I believe passionately about, and I am incredibly proud this is finally turning into reality. We have worked long and hard on the creation of a Covenant to ensure it benefits all police officers, staff, volunteers, their families, and our retired colleagues.

“The first meeting of the Covenant Board is an important step forward and I look forward to playing my part in ensuring the covenant is meaningful and tangible for all our members and their families.”

Cambridge Police Federation chair Liz Groom welcomed progress.

She said: “Our members show professionalism, courage and dedication every day as they work hard to keep our communities safe and they and their families deserve the support and recognition outlined in the new Police Covenant.

“We are delighted this first meeting has now taken place and that the process of turning the proposals into reality is underway.”

The board discussed proposals to ensure occupational health standards are embedded across all police forces, a new chief medical officer for policing in England and Wales is established and GPs are given improved training in relation to specific police roles.

Plans to develop pre-deployment mental health support for the entire police workforce and consider what a good support model for families should look like were also discussed.

Ms Patel said: “I have been resolute in my determination to ensure that the police have the support they need in order to carry out their duties to protect the public. This is an absolute priority for me.

“The new Police Covenant will recognise the dangers and the harms they face each day as they undertake their duties.”

The Covenant Board will meet every quarter to discuss the delivery of agreed outcomes and monitor progress.

Those attending the meeting alongside PFEW and the Home Office included representatives from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Police Superintendents’ Association, UNISON, the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association and the Welsh Government.

A consultation process on the new covenant was launched last year aimed at serving and former police officers, their families and any groups with an interest in supporting the police in England and Wales.

More than 1,000 responses were received, with the highest proportion coming from serving police officers, followed by police staff and retired officers.

Plans for the covenant are set out in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is set to be discussed in the Lords in the autumn having already progressed through the House of Commons.