Demands by Henry Smith MP to give Sussex Police officers more protection in and out of the job through a Police Covenant have moved a step closer to becoming reality as an eight-week consultation into the change got underway.
Henry campaigned for the Government to introduce the Covenant – a measure which it adopted last summer.
“I’m delighted officers in Crawley will soon have added protection through the Covenant. Policing is a dangerous job and officers are putting their lives on the line daily to protect our communities and we owe it to them to show we appreciate the risks they take in keeping us safe.
“The Home Office launched a consultation on the implementation of a Police Covenant in England and Wales. It’ll focus on physical protection, health and wellbeing, and support for families in addition to considering the scope of the Covenant and who should be covered.
“The consultation is open until 22nd April; information can be found on the ‘Policy papers and consultations’ section at: www.gov.uk/homeoffice.
“If you don’t use the internet, please send your views to: Police Covenant, Police Workforce & Professionalism Unit, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF. Any Crawley residents who choose to make a submission would be more than welcome to send me a copy.”
The Crawley MP is part of Blue Collar Conservatism (BCC), a group of MPs who want to listen and talk with regular voters about what policies government should be delivering on in a bid to reconnect with people and deliver on what matters to them and their families.
Led by Tatton MP Esther McVey, the group secured backing for their demand for a Covenant from all 19 Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners up and down the country, the Police Superintendents’ Association and the National Police Federation of England and Wales.
Esther McVey commented;
“I’m delighted the consultation on what should be included in a Police Covenant is now underway and that ministers are already pursuing a Blue Collar Conservatism agenda. I have had many discussions with Police and Crime Commissioners, Police Federation representatives and Superintendents and I will be putting their views across to colleagues in the coming days to ensure this Covenant delivers on what it needs to. As a group we will also be submitting a formal proposal about what we want to see in the Covenant, something which we campaigned so long for.
“Police officers are willing to take risks to keep us safe and we have a duty to protect them and ensure they are recognised for the work they do.”
The consultation was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel and will seek views of police officers, families and stakeholders on how best to protect the physical health and wellbeing of police officers, as well as how best to recognise them publicly for their bravery and hard work.
BCC also wants sentences increased for anyone found guilty of assaulting a police officer. As it stands a 12 month sentence can be given under the crime of assaulting an emergency worker – a sentence doubled by Government last year. But Henry believes the Covenant is a perfect opportunity for sentencing powers to be increased.
Latest figures show there were 1,033 assaults on Sussex Police officers in 2018-19, according to the Home Office.