35 meetings to enhance the voice of Northumbria Police Officers in the corridors of power.

Inspector Jim Gray, the Northumbria Police Federation Chair, has had 35 meetings with local MPs over the last 18 months as part of a campaign to enhance the voice of Northumbria Police Officers in the corridors of power.
Jim has met 15 of the 16 MPs with constituencies in the Force area in order to raise the issues of assaults on Police Officers and sentencing, Police pay, the vaccination issue, greater legal protection for Police drivers, the proposed Police Covenant, and other issues.
The only local MP who has repeatedly failed to respond to requests to meet being Guy Opperman, the MP for Hexham.
In addition, Jim has recently written an open letter to all Northumbrian MPs, requesting they support the Police Federation’s campaign to reverse “the disgraceful lack of pay award this year” and introduce a truly independent Police pay review system, as opposed to the current one which sees the Home Secretary completely control the outcome from the offset.
Jim also lobbied for Covid vaccine priority for officers and described the “real betrayal” by the Government after they failed to deliver. He said: “I don’t know how anybody in their right mind cannot see the absolute correct sense and justification for vaccinating Police Officers when they’re in every public and private space, dealing with every type of individual out there, whether criminal, decent law-abiding, whether compliant or aggressive and when they are unable to socially distance.”
He has since seen a win however, in his work on the Police Federation’s Time Limits campaign, which seeks swifter, more timely and less damaging investigations from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Jim said: “As a result of raising this with local MPs, one of them, Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, has submitted two ‘Early-Day Motions’ requesting broad cross-party support for appropriate checks and balances and a mechanism to be put in place to make sure that IOPC investigations into the actions of Police Officers are conducted in a timely fashion.
“For me that shows the benefit of direct local engagement by local Federation chairs with local MPs. If we can encourage support across the political spectrum for what we’re trying to achieve then that’s a win, because all of the things we campaign for are simply common-sense and work for the benefit of not only Police Officers, but ultimately the public whom we serve.”
Sir Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth and Labour Chief Whip, has also supported the campaign, making written representations directly to Policing Minister Kit Malthouse on officers’ behalf. And Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside, is considering raising the issue by way of questions in the House of Commons.
Jim has also called on MPs to be more vocal about local officers’ successes, following a slew of negative media about the Police. He added: “There is an ongoing negative narrative within the mainstream media about the Police, so I have been asking our MPs to highlight and recognise the work of Police Officers whenever they can, because I believe they can have an important role in rebalancing the continual unjustified negative rhetoric which we are all so sick of.
“There are countless unreported, unrecognised Police successes and unseen individual acts of Police bravery day in and day out. The outstanding professionalism of Police Officers, the protection of the vulnerable, the bringing of criminals to justice all goes unreported. So I am asking them to speak positively about the Police whenever they can, because the current lack of balance needs to be addressed.”
Jim added: “Not all my lobbying results in immediate success, I get that, but there have been positive outcomes, and I hope there are more to come, and these are founded upon proactively engaging, creating and maintaining positive and professional relationships with our local MPs. It is through that and the open and constructive dialogue and debate which ensues that we can attempt to influence real, positive, material change for the pay and conditions of service of Police Officers. I want the voice of Northumbrian Police Officers to be heard in the corridors of power and I’m determined to continue with this approach.”