European Confederation of Police appoints Calum Steele as new president
Calum Steele, general secretary of The Scottish Police Federation (SPF), has been elected president of the European Confederation of Police (EuroCOP) at its congress today (November 24).
Following his appointment, Mr Steele said he plans to make the voice of hard-working police officers heard “loud and clear” across the continent while tackling major issues such as terrorism, the dangers of policing the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges of migration and Brexit.
EuroCOP represents the interests of 230,000 police officers through 30 police unions and staff organisations across 25 European countries, including Spain, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the UK.
The organisation takes on issues such as improving cross-border police cooperation and ensuring all European police officers can do their jobs in the safest way, with the best available protective equipment and best working conditions for them as possible.
“All Europeans deserve the best police services they can get, and at a time when the challenges facing us all are unprecedented in modern times, it is a testament and credit to officers that public confidence in them remains high,” said Mr Steele.
“That being said, we cannot be blind to the realities of the challenges we face. The blight of terrorism remains an ever-present danger, the coronavirus pandemic has catapulted police officers into a public health enforcer role, and our colleagues continue to face extreme danger every single day.
“We have to recognise that Brexit in whatever form will change the face of European law enforcement cooperation, and we must do all we can do to ensure that our citizens do not suffer as a consequence.
“We cannot ignore the real challenges created by the re-emergence of a migration surge into Europe, and we must ensure police officers have the tools and training to combat increasingly sophisticated criminal networks.”
Mr Steele joined the then Northern Constabulary in 1993 and has more than 27 years’ police service. Northern Constabulary amalgamated into Police Scotland in 2013. He has been general secretary of the SPF since 2008.
In his role for the SPF – and as a vice-president of EuroCop – he has taken a proactive role in negotiating for improved police officer pay, terms and conditions and has been prominent in highlighting the challenges of their roles with politicians and the media. These are areas he is hoping to build on as he begins his presidency with EuroCOP.
“Policing has become the intersectional public service and is now far more than just crime and arrests. Police officers step into the gaps created by other services and are the ultimate safety net for society,” he said. “Whilst that is laudable it has taken its toll. Police officers are overworked, they are suffering physical and mental ill-health, and they are running on empty.”
The value and contribution of police officers are often taken for granted, Mr Steele said, and that is something he’s determined to see change.
“EuroCOP has been a force for good for over 18 years. Its influence in that time has gone from strength to strength, and I am confident that in the years that lie ahead, it will continue to do so. The police officers of Europe deserve nothing less,” he added.
In addition to his role within the SPF, Mr Steele is also general secretary of the International Council of Police Representative Associations, which is a body bringing together more than 1.5 million police members from 43 police unions spanning nearly 30 countries and four continents.
He is now also relishing the EuroCop role: “It is a tremendous honour to be elected as president of EuroCOP, and I thank my colleagues for their support. I look forward to working with them all in promoting their vital work and advocating for police officers across the continent.
“Police unions, associations, and federations rightly champion the voice of their members in every corner of Europe, and through EuroCOP and its dedicated team, I will ensure those voices are heard loudly and clearly in the very heart of the continent’s democratic institutions.”
Mr Steele takes over the role from Angels Bosch, a member of the Catalan Police force Mossos d’Esquadra, who had held the post since 2015.