EuroCOP President Calum Steele joined the ExCom committee in addressing over 20 European Police Federations and Unions at today’s spring Committee Meeting.
In his opening speech he highlighted how police officers across Europe were facing anger and hostility from a public that had endured a year of lockdown measures, with officers sustaining injuries from violent protests. Calum said there was a “lack of joined-up thinking and political leadership in how to reassure the public”.
One of the most important issues affecting EuroCOP members was a lack of police officer prioritisation for vaccination, Calum added. He said: “It is beyond unforgivable that even now we still have officers asked to police in dangerous circumstances without proper protective equipment, testing, or vaccination.”
He also emphasised that the “old realities” of policing still remained; he mentioned the high number of Northern Irish officers injured in sectarian rioting, and said that colleagues across Europe mourned the female police worker murdered near Paris a few days ago in a suspected terror attack.
The meeting also covered the importance of collective bargaining across Europe and how EuroCOP worked to influence legislature in many areas, including post-crime support for victims and unlawful ethnic profiling. He added: “The issue of race has never been more relevant.”
EuroCOP has been working across the refresh of The European Code of Police Ethics and the Europol mandate, and Calum said: “The opportunity for EuroCOP to meaningfully contribute to these policy areas has never been greater than it is now.”
Calum closed his speech by saying “As Police Unions, we must appreciate that citizens across Europe are tired… but it is our members who have to deal with the anger and frustrations.
“These are the sad realities for the members we represent. They are asked to perform a role few others would be willing to undertake. They do so with courage and dedication and an increasingly obvious lack of political support and action.
“Quite simply they deserve better. And through EuroCOP, and our own domestic Police Unions we will never rest in advocating for their needs.”
The committee meeting also heard from Vice President Unn Alma Skatvold who updated delegates on the work she is doing with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) with whom EuroCOP are the only policing organisation members. The collective bargaining power being members of such a body was recognised and Unn Alma was thanked for her continued hard work and dedication in this.
There was also an update from the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) on the joint project between EPSU and European Organisation of Military Associations and Trade Unions for the “Citizens in Uniform” which will look at the main inconsistencies in workers rights across countries.