The Defence Police Federation is urging MPs to not forget about Ministry of Defence police officers as the Protect the Protectors Bill continues its journey through Parliament.
Federation Chair Eamon Keating used a recent meeting with MP Holly Lynch to ensure that the challenges facing MDP officers and the impact the Bill could have on them is at the top of their agendas.
Halifax MP Holly has been championing the cause of police officers and is leading the calls in Parliament for tougher sentencing for those who assault police and other emergency workers.
The hashtag for the campaign is #ProtectTheProtectors.
Eamon says that during his meeting with Holly she was ‘supportive and very interested’ in the work of Federation members.
“With Protect the Protectors, we are concerned that the Ministry of Defence Police would not be included in the legislation as has happened with our pensions in the past,” said Eamon.
“We want to remind MPs that when they say ‘police’ please ensure it includes us, the Ministry of Defence Police.”
Eamon says the Bill is very important to all emergency services including his members. Officers have recently been exposed to bodily fluids in the line of duty meaning they had to go through anti-viral measures, due to be covered as part of the new legislation.
“Holly comes from a policing family, and is very supportive,” he added.
“I just want to ensure party politics don’t come into the bill and it’s supported by all sides of the House.”
It’s important that the Federation is not just seen as an organisation that approaches MPs with problems Eamon added and he’s keen to educate decision makers about the Federation and officers’ work.
He hopes that will ensure MDP officers are included in any future police bills including Protect the Protectors.
“It’s a major issue and something we brought up with Holly specifically,” he said.
“Legislation around injury to police officers or emergency service workers, the sexual assault of women in those roles, exposure through spitting or other exposures to bodily fluids, all applies to our officers as much as it does to anybody else.
“We have over 2,000 firearms officers. If the unfortunate happens and we have to deploy those weapons and use them then that environment will be incredibly dangerous.
“That’s why it’s important that our officers are included in any Bills like this.”
The next stage of the Protect The Protectors Bill is due to be heard in Parliament on Friday 27 April.