Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Annual Conference
For the first time since the pandemic, rank and file police officers will join chiefs, politicians, and crime commissioners in Manchester this week to talk, engage, and consider the views of those who present very different viewpoints.
No group is ever excluded from the PFEW Annual Conference, and the pluralism of the event will show that contrary to the views of our critics, policing is certainly not afraid to confront difficult issues or hear contrary views.
This year the College of Policing has a major role in the conference. Participating in separate keynote sessions are the College’s Manjit Atwal QPM, Head of Delivery, Violence Against Women and Girls; Jo Noakes, Director of Leadership and Workforce Development; and Andy Rhodes QPM, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Police Welfare Service, Oscar Kilo.
The College is also a sponsor of the event and will have a prominent display stand, where there will be an opportunity to explain first-hand to the great and good about the value the College gives to everybody involved in policing.
As a staff association with 135,000 members, it’s sometimes perceived that PFEW should somehow be at odds with the College. While we may hold different viewpoints at times, usually over how proposals are implemented, there can be little doubt the College and PFEW have many mutual interests.
After five years on the board of the College of Policing I can readily confirm this fact, and that we both aim to make policing better and ensure improved policies are in place to serve the public. We have precisely the same goals, and while there can be lively discussions about policies, our relationship is strong and effective.
This week’s conference is the first time in almost three years that policing has come together, and it’s going to be a talking shop with a distinctive purpose. It’s an opportunity for a huge range of experts to impart specialist knowledge, present new policies, network with key individuals from all segments of policing and above all, debate and engage.
Viewpoints will be considered and respected, and for College representatives in Manchester it will be an opportunity to influence the future of policing and shape what happens in the coming years.
It is an opportunity for the College to genuinely engage with the workforce, to make connections that have at times been missing, and to listen to the honest views and ideas of the federated ranks.
Previous PFEW Conference debates about Operation Hampshire and the Police Covenant helped massively to turn both proposals into reality, which emphasises the impact of conference round table discussions and the opportunities the event delivers each year.
As a main stakeholder within the service, the College of Policing adds great value to policing but sometimes struggles to get this over to frontline colleagues – and it could add more. Wearing my College hat, I’m therefore delighted that the work being done by CEO Andy Marsh QPM, Chair Nick Herbert, and many other College colleagues around improving leadership, standards and professionalism across policing, will be highlighted so prominently at the event.
And now with my PFEW hat firmly in place, this is an opportunity for the College to not just speak but importantly, to listen and reflect. Fundamentally, both organisations want the same thing – an effective police service. Recognising this fact may make it easier to collaborate. We may at times disagree on the journey and the direction we want to take, but we all should be looking for the best route to get there.
The PFEW Annual Conference takes place in Manchester on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 May. Find out more about the conference.
You can visit the College of Policing on stand one.