I can’t start this month’s blog without mentioning the response of police officers up and down the country to the latest terrorist attacks against our country and our society. This has been a terrible set of atrocities committed against a series of soft targets and civilians, but one in which police officers have responded heroically in partnership with the other emergency services. It is humbling to see how police officers have thrown themselves forward and literally put their lives on the line to save others. I suspect that this is the new normal and although not something that we should ever accept, but something that we now need to factor into our daily lives. I am acutely conscious that although these incidents have grabbed the headlines in recent months, police officers put their lives on the line up and down the country every single day both in frustrating further terrorist attacks, but also in just dealing with the numerous incidents that make up a police officer’s day which is often full of violence, threat, risk and of course injury. Thank goodness the men and women of the Thin Blue Line still stand strong, and we are proud to play our part at the PTC when things do go wrong in helping to support our superb police officers back to health and fitness when they come to us for treatment.
June has really been a jam packed month at the PTC with a mixture of almost everything that we do throughout the year in our non-treatment activity. The month started with me spending the bulk of the week in Northern Ireland attending the Police Federation of Northern Ireland conference and then staying on to attend the PSNI Benevolent Fund Dinner. Both were informative occasions, and an opportunity to take forward a couple of issues with our PSNI Trustees. This month along with May is also the Federation conference season and Peter Moore my CFO along with Fran Greenwood our Supervisor of Donor Recruitment and Charity Engagement attended the Defence Police Federation (DPF) Conference to reinforce the important work that we doing at the moment to sign up more donors from the DPF to the PTC.
We have carried out a number of visits and briefs to that vital group of new student officers in various forces including West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Cleveland and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, and a number of pre-retirement seminars as well to ensure that we continue to work with officers as they move in to retirement and try to encourage them to continue to support the PTC in retirement, and of course benefit from treatment. I also went across to Merseyside on Wednesday 14 June to support an appreciation evening for their Special Constables. I hope that most of you are aware that we now accept Specials for treatment at the PTC, so it was a chance for me to both thank them for their work, and to try to encourage as many of them as possible to sign up as donating members to the PTC so they can benefit from treatment, particularly now as we are currently in the middle of an amnesty period by which if they sign up now, they can benefit from treatment immediately.
We have a number of visitors as normal to the PTC including the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, and then in a separate visit Bill Skelly the new Chief in Lincolnshire in separate visits, but ones in which they were equally impressed with the services and support that we provide to Lincolnshire officers. We are also hosted Richard Kotulecki who is the CEO of Care of Police Survivors (COPS) who came to hear about the work we do with St George’s Police Children’s Trust, and finally Sue Freeth the CEO of Combat Stress, in a reciprocal visit following on from one I made to them last year, to continue our partnership working in the arena of mental health support and treatment for our patients.
The last few days of June saw a flurry of activity as first we ran a Trustee Training Day for our trustees to ensure that everyone was fully aware of their responsibilities and duties and what is expected form them as a Trustee, and then suitably well trained and qualified, we moved smoothly on the following day to our Annual General Council Meeting which was again held out Harrogate, and was attended by 60 external attendees to hear what we have been doing during the year, and what challenges lie ahead. We feel that it is healthy to expose ourselves to some external scrutiny and I am very pleased to say that the meeting was a great success and a useful opportunity for those who have not been to visit the PTC recently a chance to look around.
I will finish this note on rather a sad note. We received notification on Friday 16 June that Alf Hitchcock the Chief Constable of the MOD Police had died after a short illness. This was a great shock and an absolute tragedy, Alf was a great friend to the PTC and a much loved and respected man, but the loss to the MOD Police and British Policing, is nothing compared to the loss that his wife Helen and 2 girls will have felt. Rest in Peace Alf.