Christmas and New Year Message from Gary Thwaite

December 2021

Chief Executive of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation

The Force got an early Christmas present with the Government's publication of the results of its Consultation exercise on the Service Expansion proposals. There were 51 contributions, mostly supportive, from across industry, police organisations, individuals and other interested groups, and I'm pleased to say that the Federation's fingerprints could be detected ever so faintly on the finished document.

The proposals promise a revitalised CNC through an extension of our reach and depth in UK policing as long as we do not lose sight of our primary focus on the protection of the UK's civil nuclear assets. We will be assisting the Force and the Police Authority to encourage the Government to find Parliamentary time for implementing the appropriate legislation.

Earlier in the year along with our Federation colleagues in the MDP and the BTP we had the success of being recognised as equal participants in the Police Covenant. For too long we have had the suspicion that the specialist police forces such as the CNC have been seen by some as second tier in UK policing, somewhat overshadowed by the sheer size and profile of the Home Office forces.

Fortunately, as I reported to our CNPF conference last month, as a result of determined lobbying our concerns are being met and all our members will have access to care and benefits of the Police Covenant on the same footing as any officer in any Force.

Our long serving campaign for retention of our normal pension age of 60 seems to be gathering momentum. At present a Government interdepartmental group comprising BEIS (accountability), HMT (money) and the Cabinet Office (policy) have been struggling to find an acceptable pension formula which is both fair and achievable to us.

However, it is fair to say that recently we have seen strong signs from Government that they are taking our concerns seriously. I wouldn't say that we are seeing white smoke yet, perhaps lighter shades of grey... We should know more early next year.

And also looking to the New Year we will be seeking a substantial pay rise for our members. These past few years have seen police service pay treated abysmally by the Government. Pay has been frozen, worse still inflation is rising, a double whammy to our personal living standards. We will be standing with the other UK Police Federations in demanding that the Government recognises our commitment as the go-to emergency service providing everything from welfare to confronting vicious crime and public disorder. With wages continuing to go up in the private sector, there is a temptation that officers will be considering a change in career.

Also, in the New Year Federation Chairman Ian Muir and I will be visiting CNPF members at CNC establishments (allowing for the everchanging Covid-19 restrictions!). The voice of the Federation is only as authoritative as the members' engagement with their local and national Federation reps. Recent times have been difficult on a personal level for many members and their families. If any of our members are struggling please seek assistance. Talk to us on welfare, mental or financial issues; the Federation is there to help.

Lastly, despite the recent excruciating press coverage (some of it unfortunately, self -inflicted) we have much to be proud of as police officers. Keeping people safe is a job that matters, and we are trusted by the vast majority of the public. Police officers are usually a stoical bunch so a polite plea from me; allow yourself a moment of reflection over the coming weeks/year and be proud of the good work that you and your colleagues do.

Whatever your plans are over the coming days, stay safe and may you and your loved ones enjoy the festive period and let's look forward to the year ahead.