Police bodies call on Northants commissioner to show evidence of force's 'cultural problem'

Stephen Mold, left, faced a backlash this week for suggesting some in his police force had not been working as hard as they should.
Stephen Mold, left, faced a backlash this week for suggesting some in his police force had not been working as hard as they should.

Bodies representing police staff in Northamptonshire have called on the county's commisioner to justify his claim that some officers were not pulling their weight.

Last week Stephen Mold created a Twitter storm when he told a police and crime panel meeting that some in the force were guilty of "swinging the lead".

The Conservative commissioner, first elected in 2016, had been facing a grilling over the county force's recent ‘requires improvement’ rating from the Home Office when he made the comments.

He told the panel that the force was suffering from a "cultural problem" where “people have been allowed to get away with swinging the lead or not working as hard as they should be.”

In an internal memo this week, Mr Mold clarified that he was referring to only a small amount of staff and was "in awe" of the work carried out by the county's 800-strong workforce.

But both the Northamptonshire Police Federation, which looks after the interests of serving frontline officers and Unison, which represents the majority of police support staff in the county have said they want further clarification from the commissioner.

A joint statement from the two yesterday, reads: "The comments reported in the (Chron's) article are not recognised by Northants Police Federation or Unison as they are not indicative of the hard work carried out by officers in the county, nor do they reflect the position taken by the PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) during the regular meetings we have with him.

"While we acknowledge the follow-up message sent to officers by Mr Mold, we are seeking further explanation and evidence in respect of the comments made.

"We have talked through the comments with Mr Mold, who has confirmed that he fully supports the efforts made by our officers and will offer in writing clarity on the comments and reassurance of his support to them.

"I have also spoken to the chief constable and he has personally reassured us that he too recognises the continued focus and commitment, and the hard work each and every day that the Officers do to help keep our communities safe.

"I personally wish to thank our officers for their hard work and dedication."

The joint statement also paid tribute to chief constable Simon Edens, who announced his retirement from the force yesterday, following 37 years in the police.

“The Federation and Unison would like to wish chief constable Edens all the very best as he embarks on an exciting new chapter with his pending retirement," said the statement.

"Simon’s legacy will be his open and ethical management style, which has been highly valued by our members. We have enjoyed working with him and wish him well in the future.”