The Chief Constables for the four Welsh forces should follow the lead of other police chiefs and pay officers compensation for the restrictions on their rest days while they are deployed to the COP26 United Nations climate change summit, according to the Police Federation.
Officers will be held in reserve for the whole time they are in Scotland and will have to be available to be deployed within four hours on their rest days.
But the Federation is arguing this means their time off duty will not amount to proper rest days since it places unreasonable and uncompensated restrictions on them.
“We have a situation now where officers from 18 forces will receive £100 a day to compensate them for the restrictions on their rest days because their chief constables have recognised the impact they will have but they will be working alongside officers from other forces who will not get this payment,” says Roger Webb, secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation on behalf of the four Welsh Federation branches.
“This disparity in payments is totally unacceptable and particularly galling when you consider that forces are receiving compensation from the Home Office to recognise the fact that they have officers deployed to COP26 and also that this policing operation has been months in the planning. These issues should have been ironed out way before now.
“But the Chief Constables for Wales need to act now, put a stop to this unfairness and show officers they appreciate the sacrifices they are making while in Scotland.
“Throughout COP26, they will be expected to be available to be recalled to duty within four hours – even when they are on a rest day – so they are going to be heavily restricted. Some are being put up in accommodation in rural areas and in effect many are just going to be stuck in hotels unable to relax, unable to wind down and knowing they could be recalled to duty at any time.
“They are away from their families, away from their homes and already making sacrifices for this massive policing operation. Not only will they not have the opportunity to properly rest, but they will also find that there has been a completely unfair approach to these compensation payments.”
Roger is one of a number of Police Federation officials who are in Glasgow to support officers during COP26. Around 8,500 officers nationwide are involved in the three-week policing operation for the conference. Around 550 of these will come from the four forces in Wales.
Throughout the planning of the policing for COP26 through Operation Urram, the Police Federation has argued that all officers volunteering for the mutual aid deployment for COP26 should be entitled to the same pay and allowances.
“It should never have got to the point where we have these chaotic, and grossly unfair, arrangements for compensating officers. There needs to be a unified approach and chief constables must act to put an end to this,” said Roger.