After calls for “top-to-bottom” changes in the Police Federation and other criticism of England’s police, Bradford’s top police officer Simon Atkin says there is no crisis of confidence among his officers.
A damning report by an independent panel said the federation, which represents 127,000 rank and file officers, exhibited a “worrying loss of confidence and competence” and had suffered a “serious loss of influence” with members now seeing it as weak and unwilling to engage change.
But Chief Superintendent Atkin, who heads the Bradford district division, said he believes the Federation is positive about tackling tough challenges ahead.
“My working relationship with Federation colleagues in Bradford is exceptional and they are very much part of our team,” Mr Atkin said.
“The Federation is massively supportive of our change programme and I think that overall they are doing a good job.
“All senior officers want to keep in touch with reality and even go out on patrol to keep ‘hands on’.
“The new Chief Constable was out himself on New Year’s Eve and making arrests in Leeds.
“And it’s good to have the federation who can nudge us about what rank and file officers are thinking,” he said.
However Chief Supt Atkin said he was aware that changes in work practices, such as restructuring the force with fewer senior detectives, had caused some uncertainty.
“But I don’t think morale has been affected, not by that or by recent headlines surrounding the police.
“Officers and PCSOs are still going out and doing the job they joined up to do.
“Basically, across Bradford everybody is really getting stuck in,” he said.
“Police officers aren’t driven by money. The only reason they want promotion is because they each believe they can do the job better than it’s been done before.
“I’ve just had our finest inspectors lining up for new jobs which involve more work than they currently do, but they really want the challenge of more responsibility,” Mr Atkin said.
“All the changes we’re looking at are about tackling crime more effectively.
“We now have two main hubs for detectives in Trafalgar House and Javelin House, Eccleshill, and that means less supervisors.
“Which means we can keep the numbers of ‘do-ers’ as high as possible.
“We are creating what they call a ‘leaner leadership spine’. As a simple example of that, Bradford used to have two commanders, now there’s one – me,” Mr Atkin said.