Q and A with Debbie Gibbs. Debbie is a retired Detective Sergeant, who was the Sergeants’ BCU Federation Rep at Haringey. She now works for the MPF.
Q How did you come to work for the Met Federation?
A I am a self-confessed Police Regulations ‘anorak’ and I was asked to help out with the ‘Do it Right’ campaign to help officers understand their rights and entitlements.
I jumped at the chance to carry on helping serving officers. As a Fed Rep for over 10 years, it was a privilege to help and support officers; often when, for whatever reason, they were going through a tough time at work.
When I retired, it seemed a natural job choice to be able to continue to use and share my knowledge with Reps and officers. I love being able to help answer members’ questions.
In my opinion, things are harder for today’s officers than at any time in the past and it has never been more important that officers know their rights at work.
Q Why is it important that officers understand Police Regulations?
A Police officers are not employees but warranted servants of the Crown. Their pay and conditions of service – virtually everything to do with their “employment” – are governed by Police Regulations.
These Regulations are often worded in language that is not always easy to understand. Certainly, many officers and line managers don’t understand them, so it is important that we at the Met Federation can help our members to claim what they are entitled to.
Q What sorts of questions are you asked?
A We get asked a variety of questions on any number of subjects. These can include overtime and expenses; cancelled rest days; conduct and performance; equality and discrimination; pensions; injuries on duty and sickness; all types of leave; welfare; maternity as well as topics of current interest.
Officers like to know what Federation member services they subscribe to and what benefits they offer should the worst happen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has focused officers on getting their financial affairs in order ‘just in case’, and we are always happy to help officers understand what is there for them and their families for death, sickness and injury.
Officers’ first point of contact should always be their local Fed Rep.
We can support their Rep if they need help.
Officers can find a list of local reps on our website. Or they can ask us a question by emailing us at email@example.com, or call us on 020 8464 2322.
They may also be able to find the answer to their question on our website: metfed.org.uk/.
In order to access the members section of the website, officers will need to register on the site, even if they had previously already done so.
Just log on and register and we will approve access for members.
Q You recently helped relaunch the MPF website. What’s new there?
A We’ve listened to our members and tried to include information about those questions we are asked most.
We recognised that the old site needed an overhaul and all the information on the new site has had a much-needed update.
There are new FAQs on a range of subjects and a section where you can download all the Federation Forms and Documents. We’ve added useful contact information from organisations and service providers that we work closely with to support officers.
We hope officers will enjoy the news section where they can read articles on current topics and find out what we are campaigning for.
There is a link to our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. We are pleased with the relaunch but if you have any ideas to further improve the site, please let us know.