Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom has welcomed the support of policing minister Kit Malthouse for the Police Covenant.
Mr Malthouse gave his backing for a covenant during a question and answer session with Federation representatives.
Liz said the covenant, which is included in the Police Powers and Protections Bill due before Parliament later this year or early in 2021, would be a big step in improving the support and protection for officers.
“Policing is a unique job,” Liz said, “Our members put themselves in harm’s way every day in the line of duty, not least during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s only right that they should be offered the help, support and protection they need to be able to carry out that duty for the benefit of us all.
“As a Federation, we’ve been campaigning for a covenant that recognises the role we have in society, so it’s pleasing to see it given the support of the policing minister.”
Mr Malthouse was questioned on a range of issues, and listed his top three priorities as getting crime down, recruiting 20,000 new officers and ensuring the police family is “happy, safe and well-motivated”.
He said: “We’ve already recruited 4,000 and I’m is confident we’ll hit 6,000 before Christmas – which would be three months ahead of schedule.”
Liz said: “It’s pleasing to hear we’re ahead of schedule on the uplift. We need more officers available to deter and prevent crimes, such as knife attacks, and to ease the burden on colleagues.”
Mr Malthouse reiterated the Government’s support for introducing police driver protections “as soon as possible”. Changes to legislation affecting police drivers is also included in the Police Powers and Protections Bill.
The minister supported the idea of investigations into police officers by the Independent Office for Police Conduct should be expedited and more geared towards learning than punishment.
Mr Malthouse praised police officers for the relations they have built with communities which paid “enormous dividends” during the pandemic.
He assured Fed reps that the Government will see through its promise to double the custodial sentences for those who attack officers and said he would monitor what sentences judges actually hand out.
“A case in the media the other day was somebody who had broken a police officer’s nose and cheek and he ended up with a suspended sentence. To me that is not acceptable,” he said.
Liz said: “We need to give our members the protection they need to do their job, so it’s pleasing to hear the minister give his support for tougher sentences for thugs who attack officers.”