British Transport Police Federation's Conference is being held at the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel in Edinburgh on 12 and 13 March 2019.
Awards of Excellence
BTP Federation's Awards of Excellence were held on the evening of Tuesday 12 March. Officers who had saved lives, demonstrated bravery and meticulously investigated crimes received awards, having been nominated by their colleagues and peers.
PC John Paul O'Kane, PC Michael Trotter, PC Jonathan Harvey, PC Craig Wilson, PC Russell Beattie, PC Ray Martin and PD Storm received an Award of Excellence for bravely dealing with violent fights between large groups of rival football fans in Glasgow.
PC Darren Lee was honoured after he saved the life of a woman who had been struck by a train at Doncaster Station.
PC Richard Rowe from London received an award in recognition of a meticulous investigation which lead to a man being convicted of rape and blackmail.
Temporary Sgt Andy Taylor was recognised for saving the life of a man trying to jump from a multi-storey car park in Liverpool. Temp Sgt Taylor was off duty and in the company of his family at the time. His wife Lisa helped him to pull the man to safety.
Sgt Brian Dickinson won this year's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his integrity, self-motivation and willingness to 'go above and beyond'. Sgt Dickinson has served with the force for 29 years, much of it in the North West, and was on the scene at the 2017 Manchester Arena terrorist attack and the Grayrigg train derailment in 2007.
There were two awards that couldn't be shared publicly. Three officers were recognised for their actions in saving a woman's life in High Wycombe, and an award was presented to a team which deals with very sensitive and challenging cases across the force area.
Nigel Goodband, Chairman of British Transport Police Federation, said: "Policing truly is a job like no other. The events of the last year have again proven that our officers are prepared to deal with the challenges society throws at them without hesitation or consideration for their own safety."
"Their unrelenting sense of duty and courageous responses to some very desperate and testing situations makes me proud to be a BTP officer."
Sponsorship from Police Mutual helped to make the event possible.
The following morning, conference convened for the Chairman's keynote speech. The theme for conference this year was: value. Nigel Goodband questioned whether police officers are truly valued by those they serve.
He said: "We, as police officers, hold values. We believe we offer the public value. But I can't help wondering if we are valued in return. Do politicians truly value us? Do Chief Officers and the NPCC value us? Does the media value us? And most importantly do the public value us?"
"Police Officers have values but are we valued?"
You can read Nigel Goodband's speech in full here.
Ministers from Westminster were unable to attend the conference due to ongoing Brexit matters, but the Federation welcomed Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, to conference. In his response to Nigel Goodband's speech, he praised the work of BTP officers.
DCC Adrian Hanstock and the Chair of BTP Authority, Mr Ron Barclay-Smith took part in a lengthy Q&A session. Reps from across the force area posed questions on behalf of members on topics including training, pay, IT, and the management of ill-health. We were grateful to Mr Hanstock for taking the place of Chief Constable Paul Crowther, who was attending the funeral of a long-serving member of BTP staff.
A summary of the session has been emailed to members.
Continuing the theme of conference, delegates and guests received a fascinating input from Becky Milne, Professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of Portsmouth and Director of the Centre of Forensic Interviewing.
Becky was part of a team who developed the Achieving Best Evidence Document (Home Office, 2007) National guidance regarding how best to interview vulnerable and intimidated witnesses and victims. She addressed delegates on the importance of striking a balance between achieving best evidence and giving appropriate consideration to officer welfare.
Delegates also heard from Charlotte Copeland, managing director of SafeHaven Trauma Centre Ltd, a multi-disciplinary team of mental health professionals and physical therapists who are specialists in the treatment of psychological trauma.
Charlotte spoke in depth about the nature and impact of psychological resilience. She told delegates: "people drawn to high trauma related professions have above average processing ability" adding "but that doesn't mean you're immune from the impact."
During the closed session of conference, delegates received reports from the General Secretary and Treasurer and considered several motions and rule changes. A summary of conference has been emailed to members and the conference brochure, which includes reports from each Area Secretary can be read here.