Equality lead giving back to members after receiving fantastic Fed support

Sergeant Julie Reilly wanted to become a rep to give back to South Wales Police Federation after receiving ‘fantastic support’.

Julie, who has been with the Force since 1999, turned to the Federation for help four years ago and said it made her realise its value to members.

“I’d had 21 years service at the time and hadn’t turned to the Fed for any support throughout my service,” said Julie, who joined South Wales Police in 1999.

“The one time I did, I went to the Federation and I had fantastic support from my rep at that time.

“It made me realise how valuable the Federation and reps are and the support that is out there for officers.

“I wanted to give something back.


“I also wanted to make sure that other officers had the support that I had, and seeing the difference I am now making as a Federation rep is quite rewarding.”

Julie initially took a role as a part-time rep in May 2022, before taking on a full-time position as the branch’s equality lead in October of that year.

“The training that’s been provided by the Federation in relation to equality matters has been fantastic,” she said. “It’s been some of the best training I’ve received.

“The knowledge I’ve gained in such a short period of time around that specialist area, has been incredible.


Sergeant Julie Reilly.


“It’s then allowed me to apply that knowledge to support other reps and members, challenge decisions, and to negotiate with senior managers in the workplace

“I feel so passionately about the wellbeing of officers. I’m a crutch, really, for those officers who are going through a difficult time.”

Julie added: “I love the role. It can be stressful because you want the best for members, but it’s rewarding.

“When I first took on the role, I realised I hadn’t felt this much job satisfaction for a number of years.

“It has its challenges. It is frustrating when you’re trying to bring about change, but things don’t happen over night - but I really do enjoy it.

Julie said one of challenges of the role was to ensure the Force was complying with the equality act.


“For instance, we’re getting more and more officers with neurodiverse conditions coming to the Federation for advice.

“There are officers who have been in the job more than 20 years and find they’re having a diagnosis later on life.

“It’s a massive challenge trying to educate the Force to look after these officers, to ensure they get the necessary support.

“This is one of my biggest challenges and what I’m fighting for day in, day out.”

Julie said she took huge satisfaction from getting a positive result for members.

“The support we give officers is not just for a couple of days or a couple of weeks,” she said. “Cases can take a long time.

“It’s quite demanding and stressful as a rep, but when you do get a positive outcome at the end it makes it all worthwhile.

“Those struggles and the pressures and the stress you’ve been through with that officer, it can be a bit of a roller coaster ride and you feel it as well.”


Julie started her career as a response officer and neighbourhood officer before becoming a detective within the Public Protection Unit (PPU).

She was promoted to response sergeant in February 2008, and also worked in Investigative Support (HUB) before returning to PPU as a detective sergeant in child protection.

Other roles include working as a custody sergeant, as a detective sergeant in offender management and MOSOVO (management of sex offender and violent offender) and a detective in counter terrorism policing.

And she says her wide range of skills and experience have been important in her Federation role.

“I think that when you’ve been a detective, the transferable skills to be a Federation rep are invaluable,” she said.

So what would Julie say to South Wales Police Federation members who are thinking of taking the step to become a rep?

“Go for it,” she said. “Since taking on this role, I’ve tried to encourage others because throughout my service, in more than 20 years, I never really knew what the Federation could do for you or what they offered because I’d never needed to use them.

“But having seen the value in being a Fed rep, the training, the opportunities within the Federation I would encourage others to join.”

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