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New Chair elected for Merseyside Police Federation

The new Chair of Merseyside Police Federation, Chris McGlade, says he is "100% committed" to getting officers' voices heard. Chris was elected to the role this month, following the retirement of Tony Fairclough.

Chris has been a Merseyside Police officer for 18 years, and a Federation rep since 2017, where he became Health and Safety Lead, then Equality Lead, and most recently full-time Conduct and Performance Lead.

He said: "I'm proud to be the new Federation Chair, and I'm looking forward to the challenges. Over the coming years, I'm looking forward to working closely with the branch council to achieve the members' priorities."

Chris's policing career has encompassed neighbourhood policing, response and 11 years in the Matrix Disruption team, targeting organised crime. While at Matrix, Chris qualified as a Public Order Tactical Advisor (TACAD), Public and Personal Safety Trainer (PPST) and Taser instructor. "These qualifications greatly assist me in representing colleagues over a breadth of matters," he said.

He said he decided to become a Federation Rep because he felt it was important for officers in the mid stage of their career to be represented. He added: "This followed a time when we were subjected to a pay freeze and I felt betrayed, not for the first time, by the Government."

Chris continued: "When I took up the full-time Federation Conduct and Performance Lead, my main work was representing colleagues in criminal, misconduct, gross misconduct, and unsatisfactory performance procedures. In recent years, there has been significant work around that, with the change in the regulations in 2021. I've also represented colleagues on the police driver standards group in our force.

"I think there's a lot we can do in the Federation, going forward. The 2021 regulations are still relatively new. Clearly the pension matter is still ongoing and we are all keen to see a resolution as soon as possible. Our pensions are key to us all and I recognise that some trust has been lost because of PFEW's handling of this matter - I hope to rebuild this trust locally, while making sure our members' voices are heard nationally."

One of Chris's main objectives is to improve the timeliness and experience of officers subject to investigation or Post Incident Procedure.

He said: "Despite the current Government's apparent view, we are humans, not robots. It's an extremely difficult job and we make mistakes, but the response to those mistakes must be proportionate and timely.

"While we accept that there's a need for officers to be held accountable, the time that takes to happen is far too excessive, for both officers and the public."

Chris also believes there needs to be more scrutiny of the cancellation of officers' rest days.

He said: "We have a lot of events in Merseyside: we recently hosted Eurovision, and then there's The Open Championship, The Grand National at Aintree, and two very successful football teams. While there is clearly a need at times for officers' rest days to be cancelled, we need to look closer about when that happens and how quickly they're reinstated."

Many members have told Chris that they're struggling with huge workloads, especially if they work in investigations or protecting vulnerable people. He said: "We get a lot of feedback from members in relation to the caseloads they're carrying, the impact that has on their wellbeing, and the service they can provide to victims. Chief officers have said that the new model and the direct entry route is going to alleviate that pressure. Time will tell. But for me it's fundamentally important that officers don't have an excessive workload. Not only does it impact on them, but also on the victims and the confidence from the community in Merseyside."

Another issue is officer assaults, Chris said: "The reality is that, unfortunately, police officers are likely to be assaulted during the course of their career. We need to bring offenders to account. I think far more offenders need to be put before the courts, and the sentences need to make it clear that officer assaults are not acceptable. While some of that responsibility is with the justice system, for me, the force has a responsibility to do everything it can to put those suspects before the courts."

His message to members is: "I'm 100% committed to this role and committed to getting your voices heard.

"If I work until I'm 55, I've got 17 years left in policing. For me, any changes are going to impact me and my family as well. I am committed to influencing any future decisions that affect us all in the hope that any impact will be positive."

"I want the Federation to be as accessible and representative as possible; I want people to feed into us and for members to feel they can trust us. Their views will be listened to."

Chris concluded: "Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to confirm that Sgt Paul New will be my replacement as the Conduct and Performance Lead. Paul will be a great addition to the team, anyone who knows him will be aware of just how committed he is to supporting our members."