The Home Secretary has said she admires the way John Apter fights for officers as she praised the national chair and Police Federation during a Parliamentary debate on Monday (15 March).
Priti Patel opened a debate in Parliament during the second reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill by referring to her work with the Police Federation.
The bill includes plans for a Police Covenant, the doubling of maximum sentences for those who assault emergency service workers, better legal protections for police drivers and changes to regulations to allow Special Constables to become Federation members.
The Home Secretary said: “We do ask our brave police officers to do the most difficult of jobs. They run towards danger to keep us all safe. That is why I’ve worked closely with the Police Federation in developing this bill.”
She continued: “I’d like to pay tribute to the chair of the Police Federation, John Apter, for his constructive way of working since I became Home Secretary, admirably fighting for his members every single day. He’s voiced his concerns to me directly and I have acted upon them.”
MPs were debating the second reading of the bill, which contained a number of provisions pushed for by the Police Federation, including a Police Covenant, the doubling of the maximum sentence for those who assault the emergency services, and Special Constables being given the right to become Federation members.
John welcomed the comments and added it was a testament to the hard work that has been done to build constructive relations with the Government, which had been instrumental in the bill currently before Parliament.
“Since I came into post, I’ve worked hard at building relationships because they were incredibly damaged,” he said, adding: “The problem with a damaged relationship is they don’t achieve anything.
“Whether it’s having a private conversation with the Home Secretary, explaining to her that an officer has been really badly injured and assaulted and giving her the background so that she knows the realities of policing first-hand, through getting legislation over the line, it is important that we have that relationship.
“Having a constructive relationship doesn’t mean that we always agree. When we disagree, as we have over the pay freeze, pensions and priority for the vaccine, I don’t sugar coat it, and I think the Home Secretary respects that.”
John recognised that a tremendous amount has been achieved through this bill, thanks to good relationships, effective lobbying and working with MPs across all parties.
“We have seen a change in tone about policing from the Government,” added John, who also warned against “pulling up the drawbridge” saying that would not achieve anything.
He said: “Whether we like it or not we have to work with politicians and all others across policing to get our voice heard, and I’ll continue to do that.”