Priti Patel says BBC’s reputation ‘has been compromised’
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The Home Secretary launched the covenant in 2020 which was aimed at providing similar statutory support for police officers as those in the armed forces receive from the military covenant. However, initially the support was only for territorial police officers employed by the Home Office which excluded many officers serving in England and Wales. The extension means officers from the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence police and the National Crime Agency will have enhanced support and protection.
A Whitehall source said: “Cops across the county make extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe and its only right that the government stands behind all officers – not just those in territorial forces.”
The decision by the Home Secretary, which is expected to be announced next week, comes after she has publicly backed police officers’ attempt to ensure the law is followed during the coronavirus pandemic.
At one point Ms Patel wrote to the children of officers telling them that their parents are “heroes” and that they should be “proud” of the work they do to protect people every day.
The Home secretary has also pushed for changes in sentencing which means those who attack police officers will get longer terms in prison.
This followed the killing of PC Andrew Harper who died after being dragged in a car driven by four teenagers last year.
Supporters of Ms Patel in Parliament have noted that she has tried to be much more supportive of police officers than one of her recent predecessors as Home Secretary Theresa May who famously attacked the police in a speech to the Police Federation.
The police covenant creates a statutory duty to do more to support the police and places a duty on the home secretary to report annually to Parliament on progress with the covenant.
The initial focus of the covenant is on physical protection, health and wellbeing, as well as support for families.
It applies to all those working within or retired from policing roles, whether paid or as a volunteer.
When the covenant was launched, John Apter, National Chair, Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), said: “This covenant will mean much more than words to serving or former police officers. It recognises the unique position they hold in society and the fact they very often put their lives on the line.
“The benefits of this police covenant will be welcomed by the entire policing family. We would therefore like to thank the Home Secretary for her enthusiastic support and for turning PFEW’s campaign for a covenant into a reality.”
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