National Chair

Apr 2011 | 10.04.2011

86 and Out

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On the 8th August 2002, I was elected as National Chairman of the POA for the first time after serving on the National Executive Committee from 1996 – 2002.

I was re-elected for a second term in May 2006 and as such I have served a total of nine years as National Chairman. In the history of the POA there is only one other person who has served an equal length of time as National Chairman.

On the 30th November 2010 the membership ended my term of office as National Chairman, when I was unsuccessful in seeking re-election by a total of 84 votes, others will judge how successful I have been in my terms of office.

Strong leadership

It has been a privilege and honour to lead the POA during some difficult and challenging times. I led the only national strike in the history of the POA in August 2007, a decision that was right and proper at the time. And the Union also threatened to take action to protect our members’ safety in Northern Ireland, as the employer and Government refused to provide Key Personal Protection to their employees and families in an attempt to save money. Both of these decisions demanded and needed strong leadership - something I provided.

During my time in office, I have always put the POA and the professional men and women we represent at the forefront of the criminal justice system.

I have always highlighted the dangerous and demanding work performed by POA members throughout the United Kingdom in an attempt to raise public awareness.

Our political masters from 1997 – 2010 were New Labour. Whilst in opposition they made many false promises to this Union and in Government, they used the Courts on more occasions than any previous Government in attempt to smash the POA.

My task was to lead the NEC and challenge New Labour in its use of the Courts and protect the Union, its funds and of course the terms and conditions of the members.

In my role as Chairman I have had many face-to-face meetings with leading members of New Labour, such as Jack Straw, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and John Reid. All of these politicians have served either as Home Secretaries or Justice Ministers in New Labour.

I also had to do business with over a dozen Prisons Ministers in my time on the NEC and as National Chairman.

Charles Clarke

The best Home Secretary under New Labour in my opinion was Charles Clarke. He was prepared to negotiate with us in regards to the Isle of Sheppey prisons (HMP Swaleside, HMP Elmley and HMP Standford Hill) and as a result, these prisons stayed in the public sector. While he was Prisons Minister, Mr Paul Goggins was another politician who dealt with this Union in a fair and honourable fashion. Others may have different views, but I can only speak for myself.

During the last fifteen years I have served this Union in a national capacity as an NEC member with responsibility for the South West and later the North East and the High Security Estate, as well as my time as National Chairman. These have been the most fulfi lling times in my working life and I feel proud to have been given this privilege by the POA membership.

Support and friendship

In my time in office I have visited every prison in the United Kingdom. As National Chairman, I have worked closely with two General Secretaries, Mr Brian Caton and Mr Steve Gillan. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their support and friendship.

I have worked with many NEC in the last fifteen years, all of whom have worked tirelessly to serve this Union. It would be unfair to name any individual of this group, but I would like to thank each and every one of them for their support and assistance through some dark and difficult times.

This Union could not operate on a daily basis without our professional and dedicated support staff in Cronin House, Linden House, Castell House and Calder Road. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their support.

The POA also needs the dedication and work ethos of the Assistant Secretaries who during my time on the Executive have always provided a good professional service.

The Union would also fail to operate without the SNC, Area Committee in Northern Ireland and Special Hospitals.

 

 

Colin Moses
National Chairman