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International Women's Day: Introducing Debi Rouse

8 Mar, 2021

British Transport
Police Federation
Mar 8, 2021

International Women's Day: Introducing Debi Rouse

What better day to catch up with Debi Rouse, the first female member of the Federation Executive, than on International Women's Day? Alongside her national role, Debi is the Secretary of the Federation's Wales and Midland committee.

When did you join BTP?

I joined on 7th Dec 1992 and was 28 years old, which was considered then as having had a little life experience. I also had an offer to join Gwent Police but decided to join the BTP as I was living in Weston-Super-Mare at the time and thought I would never go back to Wales - how wrong was I? Tell us about your current role?

I'm currently seconded to the Diversity and Inclusion Department at FHQ and am a facilitator for the Ethical Dilemma Workshops, moving forward to the next phase of virtual workshops rather than face to face. I'm also leading on the Ethical Panels for those seeking promotion as well as networking with our internal support networks to remove fear around language and terminology which will be backed up with an intranet input. I am looking to gain contacts and inroads to outside organisations too.

When did you become a Fed rep and why?

I became a Fed rep in 2010. Several years into my career I was subject to a lengthy, unjust internal discipline, which culminated in a tribunal. Much of the detail is still very raw and uncomfortable for me to talk about even after all these years, but the emotion that whole process invoked made me determined to help and support anyone where and when I could.

I initially headed the First Contact Advisors which worked closely with all the internal associations. My move into the Federation was inevitable and I have to say is the most fulfilling part of my job to date. I was lucky enough to be supported by Supt Morgan and Area Commander Gregory who allowed me to carry out Federation work on a full time basis for about a year until September 2020 when I took up my secondment to Diversity and Inclusion.

You're now the National Deputy Chair of the Federation?

Yes. In 2017, the vote for the Deputy role was split evenly between myself and Steve Lewis [rep from the Pennine West regional committee] so we did six months each in that year. The following year I was voted into the role.

What aspects of Federation work do you lead on or have a particular interest in?

My particular interest is in equality and fairness. I have concerns about how our own Federation looks to a minority group looking in, and what it is we currently reflect. I also see the effect that discipline and/or misconduct matters have on officers. I want nothing more than a fair and timely system that takes into account the stress and anxiety an officer experiences during these processes.

How you balance your day job, volunteering as a Fed rep and your personal life?

This is not a role for the faint hearted. It can be a thankless task that eats into work and private time but for me, the inner personal rewards are endless. My day job has to get done, thankfully I have very understanding managers who accept that someone has to be that support and allow (within reason) me to carry out my role.

As for my personal life - I am the one who has stood on the beach in Spain a bar in Crete on more than one occasion talking to and supporting an officer in their time of need. That is my choice, and if I can't answer I will always call them back. The balance has to be what is right for you.

The pandemic has made my time a little more important. My home is also now my office and I seem to find myself sat at the laptop at all times of the day and night and so closing the laptop and removing it from my dining table (makeshift office) at least for one day a week is an absolute must.