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I will get in touch with the webmaster. The file it is downloading is a small music file (Under pressure by Queen).

Below is a small article from the Police Review regarding the group.

Best wishes

Jane's Police Review<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

 

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FEATURE

Date Posted: 01-Feb-2006

JANE'S POLICE REVIEW COMMUNITY - FEBRUARY 03, 2006


Fighting back

An independent support group has been set up to help police officers and staff whose lives have been turned upside down by bullying in the workplace. Tina Orr-Munro reports.

As a detective sergeant with 23 years' service, Det Sgt Julian Panayiotou admits the last thing he expected to be doing at this stage in his career is run a police support group for bullied officers and staff.

But just over a year ago, the officer set up the Independent Police Support Group to help officers and police staff who are affected by bullying in the workplace.

Since September 2004, the helpline has received dozens of calls from officers and staff who say they have been victimised at work. The group has just won its first case of unfair dismissal, which has resulted in the officer being reinstated.

The idea for a support group came to Det Sgt Panayiotou after Hampshire Constabulary suspended its harassment contact officer scheme. He felt that officers and staff members needed to be able to call upon an independent organisation that could dispense impartial advice, so he launched the group in September 2004.

Det Sgt Panayiotou says the response to the group demonstrates the extent of bullying in the service. He adds: 'We are currently dealing with several calls a week since we went live last year. Some of these officers are pretty desperate. We have even had a case of an officer feeling suicidal because of the situation they found themselves in.

'Several officers have found life in the service so intolerable that they have already resigned.'

Professional standards

Currently, professional standards departments in forces investigate complaints made by one member of staff against another. But Det Sgt Panayiotou says that because they are all members of the same force, including the Police Federation and Unison representatives, it is difficult for all parties to remain objective, especially in smaller forces where people are likely to have personal knowledge of staff they have been tasked to investigate or represent.

He says: 'There are some excellent professional standards departments, but they are staffed by officers and staff members employed by the force and that can put them in a difficult situation.

'We are aware that those who are appointed to represent people can come under tremendous pressure themselves. This is why we do not agree with forces investigating themselves.'

The Independent Police Support Group's aim is not to replace current support mechanisms, such as Unison and the Federation, but to complement them. The group urges people to contact their own staff associations as soon as they are aware that a situation is 'likely to deteriorate and likely to affect their personal life or performance at work'.

But because of its independence, Det Sgt Panayiotou says the group is able to challenge forces where necessary, although ultimately their purpose is to try to settle disputes amicably before they escalate.

'We are a young organisation, but we are not shy of challenging those who are not used to being challenged.'

Det Sgt Panayiotou adds: 'One of our aims is to retain good staff. We would call on police forces to assist us in supporting members of staff who are bullied or victimised and be proactive in removing those bad apples that cause untold misery and illness and [cause people] to consider taking their own lives.

'We aim to create a good working relationship with all police forces and have liaised with the Independent Police Complaints Commission on behalf of clients.'

Ongoing support

The support offered by Independent Police Support Group is open to all police service employees and their families and is even offered to those who have already left the service. There is no charge for the group's services.

The group's emphasis is on ongoing support and practical advice in dealing with bullying, such as understanding grievance and fairness-at-work procedures.

Det Sgt Panayiotou says: 'Often, people have done the right thing only to find themselves isolated and on their own. Work colleagues who may have been friendly and supportive melt away. We will still be around when others have long since gone.'

Mediation is one area that could be better used by police forces, says Det Sgt Panayiotou, who has completed a course in mediation at the <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Institute of Chartered Arbitrators. He says forces often adopt an 'outdated, defensive' approach to officers and staff who make disclosures regarding bullying or public interest matters.

Det Sgt Panayiotou adds: 'I am convinced that if forces consider mediation at an early stage or have the courage to say "sorry", the number of civil cases would be reduced.

'Forces would also be able to retain more staff who have been affected by bullying. Nobody wins if a case goes to an employment tribunal.'

The response to the formation of the Independent Police Support Group has been varied. The detective says some forces are genuine in attempting to learn from past mistakes while others 'talk the talk' rather than 'walk the walk'. Det Sgt Panayiotou says: 'One force has repeatedly demonstrated its failure to learn from past mistakes and been criticised by an employment tribunal. But we will encourage such forces to improve and will be liaising closely with police authorities. After all, everyone has a right to work without feeling bullied.'

Since the Independent Police Support Group placed a small advert about their organisation, they have received an increasing number of calls from around the country. Det Sgt Panayiotou says more volunteers are now needed to meet the rising demand.

He says: 'The number of calls is increasing as people get to hear of us. We are looking for people with skills and experience in a number of areas and also those who wish to become part of a steering group.

'So long as there is a need for our group, we remain committed to helping any colleagues who approach us and to provide an independent element to any person or staff association who may wish to use us as a resource.' ·

Tina Orr-Munro is a freelance writer. If you would like to assist the Independent Police Support Group as a volunteer, please write to: Det Sgt Julian Panayiotou,

Independent Police Support Group,

27 Old Gloucester Street
,

London, WC1N 3XX

CASE STUDY: CLAIRE

Claire (not her real name) is a police staff member in a large police force who was sacked in September 2004 for gross misconduct. However, she was reinstated in September 2005 after a tribunal unanimously decided she had been unfairly dismissed. She says: 'I was dismissed in September 2004 and lost my appeal in November of that year. After I left my job, a colleague of mine mentioned the Independent Police Support Group, so I rang them. I really did not think they would be able to help me. My case was not related to whistleblowing or bullying. But the group took a look at all the paperwork and went through it to ensure my case was dealt with properly.'

Claire adds: 'A barrister told me that the police would wipe the floor with me, but I felt that they could not do this and get away with it. By that time I had nothing to lose. A tribunal was scheduled and the Independent Police Support Group submitted a statement along with mine.

'I think my case spiralled out of control. I feel those who were dealing with it had little or no experience, especially at a stage where a person faces losing their job.

'I was able to find another job with a former employer, but it could have cost me everything. I lost my confidence and there were times when I could not face going out. I did think about giving up with my case several times.

'The Independent Police Support Group helped me enormously in that they took the pressure off me. There is definitely a place for a separate organisation like this. There is a problem that those who represent you are also part of the organisation and are also under a lot of pressure themselves.

Claire says: 'I am pleased that I was able to go back to work, which is what I always wanted. If I had not, I would not have been able to clear out the events of last year. Although I did not really need to prove to my colleagues that I was not this bad person that I had been made to be, I needed to do it for myself.'

 

CASE STUDY: STEVE

Steve (not his real name) resigned from his force this year after nearly 20 years' service as a police officer.

He says: 'My case started in 1997 when I blew the whistle on a colleague. I had not intended to, but something happened and I did not know what to do, so I confided in another officer who said: "Either you tell the management or I will". So I did, and soon after that I became public enemy number one.

'I was frozen out of the CID office, dog mess was smeared on papers on my desk and my car would be moved without me knowing, and that was just the tip of iceberg. This went on for 18 months or so.

'Then an officer I hardly knew told me that people were out to get me and soon after I found myself on a disciplinary change for leaving property on my desk. Others who did the same were not disciplined.'

Steve adds: 'Finally, I went to professional standards and told them everything that had gone on, but they did nothing. I went to my Federation representatives, but they told me to keep my head down and it would blow over. Finally, I went off sick. By that time it had gone on for five years.

'[The experience] nearly destroyed me, but I have moved on. I lost confidence in the force. I blew the whistle because it was the right thing to do and yet nobody was prepared to do anything about it. It would have taken just one phone call by someone who said they would sort everything out and I would have gone back to work.

'I was suicidal. I have dealt with many missing persons over the years and suddenly I understood what made someone leave home and never come back. That is what I wanted to do.'

Steve adds: 'Finally, this year I had had enough and I resigned. After I left, I came across the Independent Police Support Group on the internet and called them. It was the first time someone actually seemed to be on my side. I wish I had known about them sooner.'


© 2006 Jane's Information Group

 

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Smudge as you know you are currently helping me smiley19.gif, I will finish that e-mail to you i promise, very  positive article in the Jane's review.

I have also been told about a solicitior www.reynoldswilliams.co.uk

they are leaders in their field of dealing with occupational streSS cases/bullying and have won several cases recently using the harassement act  against employers for employess that have been bullied  ...INTERESTING READINGsmiley32.gif smiley1.gif  The Tayside  Case is just the beginning me thinks at last 

 

 

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Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

Criminals often use solicitors/counsel who are experts in particular fields. They know the areas to attack with a good deal of certainty that those areas will assist their client. They have had many years of practice and successes because police historically very rarely learn from past mistakes.

We have numerous cases of solicitors retained by the police federation providing a poor service.

With respect to Federation Representatives, we have to agree that it is a bit of a lottery. We are aware of excellent reps and we are also aware of extremely lazy and incompetent reps. 

A good test is to see what your rep actually does rather than what they say they will do.

Have they written letters or reports to senior officers raising concerns about the way you may have been treated?

Often you may be ill by the time you need a rep.

Ask them to interview /take statements from witnesses. Ask them to ensure that if you have been a victim of crime to have the matter officially recorded and be given a crime number. (Harassment cases are usually not investigated very well by forces if the victim is an officer and the offendor is in the same force).

In relation to Unison reps, we have previously been pleasantly surprised at the moral courage of a rep who supported a member of staff. The member had been unfairly dismissed and subsequently got her job back after winning her case at an employment tribunal.

Remember you have a choice, if you are unhappy with your legal representation vote with your feet.

There are numerous solicitors who now work on a contingency fee basis and are experts in particular fields.

Here is one of many: www.equaljustice.co.ukClap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

It is police staff who make the police tick. Unison area  members work in everything from admin and front desk roles to forensics and photography. Our members work in every police force..

-------------------

Gomez

Job Openings

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  • 4 years later...

I'm about to contact the IPSG. My force are trying to dismiss me for being off sick. Bless them. That Mr Bradford has a lot to answer for.

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<P><FONT face=Arial color=#3333ff size=2>Does any other force (I am with Essex) follow this ludicrous policy of warning their staff, police & civilian, for periods of sickness, even though in the case of serving officers this is sometimes with injuries sustained in the course of their duty?</FONT></P>

There are cases of badly managed absences but equally cases of 'sick notes' who like to have their 6 weeks annual leave bolstered by another 6 weeks sick leave.

Every organisation will have an attendance management policy, it would be ludicrous not to. Unfortunately poor supervisors use the policy as a blunt instrument in the place of good supervision.

Being asked to explain an absence, for which your employer is actually paying you to do nothing, is not unreasonable, but should always be done in a reasonable way.

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Yes I do understand that they have to have the policy in place, because sadly there will always be those that play the system for all it is worth. However, if you've got certificates from the Doctor, then I don't think it should even apply.

You will remember I am sure that there was a member of police staff who was accidentally shot during a training lecture by their firearms department? Well even he was pursued under the attendance policy!! That's how inflexible it is.

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Yes I do understand that they have to have the policy in place, because sadly there will always be those that play the system for all it is worth. However, if you've got certificates from the Doctor, then I don't think it should even apply.

You will remember I am sure that there was a member of police staff who was accidentally shot during a training lecture by their firearms department? Well even he was pursued under the attendance policy!! That's how inflexible it is.

That's bad. Very bad.

That said we've had arguments between HR and managers. But thankfully the managers have flat out refused to comply with HR's demands to send "the letter" to someone undergoing treatment for a serious illness.

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As I say, it's poor supervision/ management that blindly follows policy. In my time I had three genuine people off long term sick for very good reasons. I was in regular contact with them and made sure that HR never sent any computer generated letters. One was off for more than 6 months and I ensured that not only was his pay not cut to half but he was unaware that it was even being considered, he had more important things to worry about.

I have had another who have complained that I contacted them at home when they were sick!

I know who the lead swinger was.

Also a Dr's certificate doesn't always mean that person cannot do some work. Hence the 'fit note' rather than the 'sick note'.

If a supervisor knows their staff and treats them fairly there should be no problem.

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