UK to Increase Support for Police, Their Families

September 9, 2020 Updated: September 9, 2020

The British government said it will write into law a new covenant that enhances support and protection for police personnel and their families.

The covenant “acknowledges the sacrifices made” by serving or retired, paid or voluntary police officers, police staff, and their families, according to a draft of the covenant, which will focus on physical protection, health and well-being, and support for families.

“We ask a great deal of our police and we expect the highest standards to be maintained. In return, we have a responsibility to provide protection and support to the police,” the draft reads.

Proposals for implementing the legislation include requiring the home secretary to report annually to Parliament on progress with the covenant. Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the covenant on Sept. 8 at the annual conference of the Police Superintendents’ Association.

The “bravery and sacrifices [of the police and their families] are what keep us and our loved ones safe,” Patel said in a statement.

“I will put the police covenant in law to ensure they will always have the support of the nation.”

During last year’s conference, Patel said that she would start a consultation on a covenant, which was launched earlier this year.

Over 90 percent of the 1,113 respondents supported the plan, the government said. Three percent of respondents disagreed with the concept, mostly because of skepticism over its effectiveness.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which had been campaigning for such a covenant, welcomed the decision. John Apter, PFEW’s national chairman, said the police are “delighted” with the plan.

“This covenant will mean much more than words to serving or former police officers,” Apter said in a statement. “It recognizes the unique position they hold in society and the fact they very often put their lives on the line.”

He thanked Patel for her “enthusiastic support” on behalf of “the entire policing family.”

Paul Griffiths, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, also welcomed the covenant, saying it will provide “formal recognition and a sign of clear value to the families of officers and staff who have made sacrifices in carrying out their duties.”

“Our people put themselves at risk each day as they work to protect the public, something that is now more acute than ever, when faced with the challenges of coronavirus and increased reports of assaults against our officers,” he said.

“This important step forward will ensure that our duty to our people begins to mirror that of our duty to the public.”