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Supers President announces retirement

President of the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA), Paul Fotheringham, has announced his retirement from policing.

Paul, who is a serving Kent Police officer, was elected to the position of president in January 2022, beginning the full-time seconded position in March 2022.
A detective chief superintendent, Paul served the first half of his service for Kent Police in local policing and the second half in specialist crime, including protecting vulnerable people, covert policing, serious crime and homicide investigation. He sat on the national working group for kidnap and extortion and also the Operation Hydrant SIO peer review cadre, supporting and advising forces across the country on the response to previously unreported sexual offending in an institutionalised setting. 

Paul also led 'Operation Sandpiper' - the investigation into the crimes of convicted murderer and necrophiliac David Fuller, who received a double whole life sentence in December 2021. 
Paul was a PSA branch official for six years, a district official and a member of the PSA National Executive Committee for three years. He was a long-standing member of the Panel of Friends and supported colleagues ‘at risk’, before being elected to the position of President.
In his time as president he has driven forward initiatives to support the wellbeing and best interests of superintendents and the wider service, such as through the creation of a mental health support line for senior leaders, a project to support superintendents’ wellbeing as they retire from the Service, and the push towards a national requirement for forces to assess their occupational health wellbeing under the Bluelight Wellbeing Framework.
Paul has been a staunch advocate for the care and value of police officers and staff, serving as a trustee for the charities Flint House Rehabilitation, and Police Care UK – the latter of which was his chosen charity to support with fundraising through the PSA’s conference this year.  Paul is also a trustee for the Police Arboretum Memorial trust (UK Police Memorial), and in 2022 he was appointed as a non-executive director of the College of Policing Board.
Paul said: “I joined policing after following in the footsteps of my father, with a clear and simple desire to help people and keep communities safe.  Over the course of three decades, that has never changed, and I have been honoured to have held some of the most interesting, challenging and varied roles.
“Policing is far from easy, and I have been involved in investigating some of the most challenging cases, such as Operation Sandpiper.  Jobs such as this will stay with me forever, not only in the horror of what we were dealing with, but also the absolute professionalism and commitment of my team who were tasked with handling the most extreme of crimes.
“My work for the PSA has been a fitting end to my career.  Being elected as president of an association that works so hard to support senior police officers, and to influence positive change right across policing is a true honour.  I have used the opportunity to do all I can to enhance and improve the wellbeing support on offer to our people, with the support of partners such as Oscar Kilo. I passionately believe that we have a clear responsibility to understand the strains that policing has on health and wellbeing, to track and respond to this human impact, and to then surround our people with the support they deserve for doing such a critical and challenging job. 

“I have worked hard with colleagues to push for fair pay and reward for police, and to ensure our people are valued for the incredible work they do.  The fight for fair pay is a long and constant battle, but something we will not back down on. This year, by coming together with our colleagues at the NPCC, CPOSA and APCC as one ‘blue team’, we were able to influence the highest police pay rise in a generation. Speaking with one voice works.

“I have also been proud to speak on behalf of colleagues from under-represented groups who have a voice which must be heard.
“I would like to thank my colleagues at the PSA for their support and hard work during my time as president.  For more than 70 years, the association has been representing our service’s most senior operational leaders, who are critical in the delivery of policing.  I look forward to seeing the further development of our pro-active work to support supers and support policing.”

Gavin Stephens QPM, Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council said: “Paul has led the Police Superintendents’ Association with vision, compassion and courage. He has supported and represented his members, our colleagues, with real energy and been a positive influence on policing nationally with his open and collaborative approach. 
“I would like to thank him for his professionalism and dedication and wish him all the best in his future adventures.”

Andy Marsh, CEO of College of Policing, said: “I would like to both pay tribute to and thank Paul for his contribution to improving policing during his distinguished career as a police officer and more recently as President of the PSA and Board Member for the College of Policing.

“Paul’s experience, knowledge and contribution to the work of the College as we continue to boost professionalism, drive consistency and improve leadership has been both outstanding and invaluable. 

“Best of luck for your retirement Paul, you’ve left some big boots to fill.”
Andy Rhodes OBE QPM, Service Director of the National Police Wellbeing Service said: “Paul took up his presidency at a time when workforce health and wellbeing was facing some huge challenges and also some exciting opportunities. Dealing with the tail end of COVID, the pay freeze and the pressures of Uplift, Paul found himself managing a complex array of national issues.
“In my experience, the true test of a leader happens when they are given power and authority, and he had already earned his reputation throughout an exemplary career as an SIO leading complex , high profile investigations.
“I was immediately struck by Paul’s openness to disclose his own journey whilst expressing his passion and commitment to use his time as president to focus on workforce health. Quite often senior leaders stop there. By this, I mean they are vocal, committed and supportive (which is amazing) but they don’t take the time to really – and I mean really – understand the issues at hand. 
“Paul invested a significant amount of time delving into the complexities involved in occupational health, trauma support and the Police Covenant, and used his role to ‘speak truth to power,’ always professional – always from the heart and well informed. As a result, he has been pivotal in highlighting the importance of accelerating improvement and accountability for wellbeing, which is now firmly established in PEEL and the Police Covenant. 
“I have had the privilege of getting to know Paul quite well. He is a good man with fine values and a passion for supporting everyone who works in policing. I wish Paul all the best for the future and want to thank him for his support to me personally. 

“Paul…walk out of the door knowing you left us better than you found us!”

Paul has shared reflections on his time in policing in a blog which can be read here.

In line with association rules, the PSA’s members will vote for a president and vice president to lead the association as part of three year terms from March 2024 onwards.  An interim president will be in place from 26th October 2023.