Eamon Keating, Chairman of the Defence Police Federation, looks at what he will be looking for from a new Government in June.
The next Government needs to ensure the police can respond properly to serious attacks without worrying about the financial cost.
We cannot be taking a risk on security in the name of making savings to the policing budget.
The reality is the people taking the risk are the public and the police officers who are on the front line, not those making the decisions.
This is because the decision makers who cut the budget and reduce the level of security are not the people stood out there when somebody attacks. That’s the front line police officers.
It’s not even so much about money, it’s about recognising that the response should be designed to deal with the threat, not to deal with what you think or have decided you can afford to do.
So it might mean more money, or it might mean doing things differently.
But we can’t continue to look at something and say: “Well if we were going to do it properly we’d do it this way, but actually we need to cut the budget by 10% so let’s take 10% away.”
What you should be saying is: “No, that needs to be done and it needs to be done well, so let’s do it properly.”. Only then do you work out the budget.
Make sure it’s value for money and it’s efficient, but it shouldn’t be based on what you say you can afford as opposed to what the threat actually requires.
When it comes to our terms and conditions, we just want to be treated fairly and be able to get on and do our job and not have to be stood there worrying about whether the resources we’ve got are sufficient and that if something does go wrong we’re going to be able to respond well.
In the first few months of the new Government, regardless of what it looks like, we want to get out and meet people who are in the influential positions around the environment we police.
Firstly to educate them and demonstrate to them what it is we do, because unfortunately, there’s very little known about us because of the environment we work in.
The Ministry of Defence Police are world leaders in the area that we police, so it’s always a very important first task for me to educate people as to the role that we carry out, where we work and the type of work that we do.
Secondly, I want to advise them of where we see the risks and offer solutions and ways forward. We would always look to work cooperatively with whichever Government was in power.