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PSA President Paul Griffiths reflects on six years in national office

Paul Griffiths OBE shares his reflections on his six years in the national office of the PSA, on the final day of his presidential tenure:

Leading the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) has given me opportunities I will always remember, posed challenges I would never have imagined facing and led me to new friendships and connections I will fondly treasure.
I have always been a proud police officer, resolutely committed to the job, with drive and ambition to serve our communities and to be an effective leader.  
Being elected to vice president of the PSA in 2016 therefore truly felt like an honour, and it cemented my determination to ensure that the association built on its position as an influential body in policing, that plays a part in delivering real results for our people, our police and our public.
During the subsequent six years in which I have been part of the presidential team, I believe we have shown what can be done, even as a small organisation, with the right determination and unwavering commitment to positive change.
On wellbeing, we have created a peer support programme, training almost 75 superintendents in peer support skills to enable them to directly help their colleagues.  We have delivered wellbeing kits to all our members and we have successfully played a key role in the National Wellbeing Service to make sure our voice is heard on this crucial agenda and the new Police Covenant, which must be seen as the start of a 100 year programme.
On learning and development, in partnership with the College of Policing, we have rolled out the online superintendents’ toolkit, giving our people access to digital resources to help them do their job whenever they need it, and created bespoke CPD opportunities for supers.

On valuing difference, we’ve brought together all network groups with regular dial-ins to share updates, challenges and best practice. We have built a sustainable coaching and mentoring programme to support colleagues from under-represented groups, which is now embedded in the College of Policing’s national offering. This month, we complete the first year of the Future Supers programme, welcoming more than 300 police officers and staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups to regular webinars, followed up by one-to-one coaching and mentoring from our members. Being recognised as an ‘ally’ by the National Black Police Association as a result was truly humbling and something I will view with pride in my career.

Alongside this, we’ve continued to serve as the voice of our people, gathering data and evidence on what it means to be a superintendent today, to push for fairness when it comes to pay, reward and recognition. We’ve also lobbied national leads to ensure that superintendents are part of the national Police Uplift Programme, bringing in the right number of senior leaders to manage this historic recruitment drive.  Whilst we still have a long way to go, I’m proud to say that as a result, our membership is at the highest it has been for years.

Operationally, we’ve shared the unique insight and experience of our team and our members to inform key policing decisions and future planning.  From being a critical friend to those developing Covid legislation to successfully lobbying for changes to pre-charge bail regulations and contributing to the College of Policing’s ‘Future Operating Environment 2040’, we have shared what we think policing needs, to work well.
These successes are not mine, they are the result of passionate, dedicated teamwork within our association, and with our partners, to bring positive change to the job that we love. 

People can help people – that’s something I truly believe in and something we must remember when we face the challenges ahead of us.
In a Service based around communities and social dynamics, we must constantly push to improve.  Whether that’s better working environments for our people, better services for the public or better structures through which we work, we must never rest.   If we get things right now and start thinking 10, 20, or 30 years ahead in everything we do, we’ll start to be a Service that is dynamic, agile and responsive to the changing world in which we live.
In many ways our Service has been upturned in the last three years – our relationship with the public redefined through Covid, then again as our legitimacy has come under the spotlight in the most extreme way. Many officers and staff are feeling lost as a result of this and my plea to them would be to remember who they are and why they joined the Service. Day in, day out we see countless examples of colleagues going out of their way to help people. To protect and serve, and I thank every single one of them.
We have much to do to become the Service and the culture we aspire to be, but we must never lose sight of what sits at the heart of the majority of our 220,000 strong workforce. Care – for our people, our police and our public.
It's been an honour and a privilege to have served as PSA President. I thank everyone who has supported me in the role for the past three years and send my very best wishes to the new presidential team.