Paul Griffiths gives his thoughts on beginning his new role as Association President and outlines his priorities over the next three years.
“It is with enormous pride that I take on the role of President of the Police Superintendents’ Association.
I begin the role at a time which can accurately be described as ‘unprecedented’ in terms of the national landscape we face.
Never before has policing operated within such an uncertain national climate, veering through the divisions of Brexit, amidst rises in violent crime and changing crime patterns, whilst surviving on the stark reductions in officer numbers and police funding.
So how do we approach this as leaders and influencers?
For me, and for the whole of the PSA, everything we do will be based around a commitment of care for our people, our police and our public.
For our people – this means supporting our members as they work to navigate their way through roles that are unrecognisable from those carried out by their predecessors. We will fight for fair and appropriate pay and conditions for these officers, who are serving with 21,000 less colleagues than they had 10 years ago, whilst delivering more than ever before. In the last decade, the number of Chief Superintendents has fallen by 44.7% and the number of Superintendents by 17.4%. Our members need their voices heard, and currently, feedback, statistics and independent assessment is not impacting on those with the power to make a difference. This cannot continue.
Having been shocked and saddened by the results of surveys into the resilience of our members, we are committed to looking further into the physical and psychological effects the service is having on officers and understanding where we need to influence change in their working conditions.
For our police – I passionately believe that as senior leaders, our members can and should be a powerful force for change across the policing landscape. Our role brings great challenge but also great opportunity and as the voice of the superintending ranks across 47 forces, we will work to address the biggest issues facing the service today. I will focus on vulnerability and demand management, strengthening our links across the public sector and beyond, so that we can move towards an integrated service. We will support advancements in technology so that our service can keep pace with a rapidly changing digital environment, and above all, do all we can to help build a service that is not only right for today, but fit and ready for the future.
For our public – We need to know what the public want. To do that, we need to ask the right questions and we need to continue to explain what we face on a daily basis. Our public, quite rightly, is the most informed it has ever been with regards to the policing, and we need to take this as an opportunity to help them shape their public services.
This needs to start with an independent review of the service as a whole, so that funding and structures can be designed in a way that delivers the policing our communities need, informed by the experiences of those currently at the heart of policing.
Anyone who has served as an operational officer during these austere times will tell you that the service and the demand we face has changed beyond recognition. What they will also tell you is that the reasons people join our ranks remain the same: pride and commitment to making a difference.
Our rank and role are not taken lightly. Our members are dedicated and passionate about serving the public. This will not change, and our role is crucial in pushing for the radical re-design of a policing service that is delivered by officers in their thousands, who want to make a positive difference.”