HC 1456 Home Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the Police Federation of England and Wales

Thank you for your letter dated 6 December concerning the Policing Large Scale Disorder which has been forwarded to me by Mr McKeever for my attention.

It was a pleasure to meet with you on Wednesday where I was in a position to share with you a copy of the Police Federation submission to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and in addition a copy of the comments on the airwave system from frontline officers who had kindly responded to a Metropolitan Police federation survey designed to learn the lessons from the events in August.

As you will be aware these were unprecedented times in the world of operational policing, not since either the early 80’s or early part of 2001 had we in the police service been under such attack from those who seek to challenge authority on a scale we never envisaged.

We will always learn the lessons from such events and the Police federation sees itself as playing an important part in representing the views of rank and file from an operational perspective in order that their voice is heard by not only those detractors but also those who want them to continue to undertake those extraordinary duties that of Public order policing.

Analysis such as this will not only assist to restore the confidence in the police but more importantly the communities we serve.

We held a number of meetings at our Headquarters in Leatherhead with representatives from those areas where there had been a disturbance and we systematically went through the events that unfolded in the days of the disorder. In these meetings we had first-hand accounts from those officers involved as to what areas they were concerned about and where improvements could be made.

As I explained to you briefly on Wednesday our report was not designed to be a technical report but one that expressed the views and frustrations of those who were working long hours, at short notice and in extraordinary circumstances. When in our report we make mention of “overload” that relates to officers not being afforded the ability to transmit due to the radio traffic and reception issues all of which have an impact on not only officer safety but the ability for officers to be deployed efficiently. Due to compatibility issues officers from forces outside the metropolitan were not in a position to use their personal issue radio and resorted to using mobile phones.

I hope our report is of use in explaining our position and in an order to move forward we have made a recommendation that a review be undertaken of communication procedures during a national crisis.

On behalf of the police federation I am more than happy to discuss this further with you.

9 December 2011

Prepared 22nd December 2011