Human Resources - Severe weather and travel disruption protocol (L11160)
1. Summary of changes
1.1 This protocol has been updated on its 2 yearly review as follows:
Changes made to section 3.1.3 to reflect amendments made to the policy/procedures which are linked;
Section 9, EIA has been reviewed and updated;
New paragraphs added within section 8 regarding data security and retention and disposal of records;
Author details updated.
2. What this protocol is about
2.1 This protocol applies to all police officers and police staff employees.
2.2 The purpose of this protocol is to give advice to officers and staff in times of severe weather to enable business continuity.
Compliance with this protocol and any governing policy is mandatory. This protocol is not, nor is it intended to be, contractual.
3. Detail the protocol
3.1 Severe Weather Conditions
3.1.1 All police officers and police staff are expected to make every effort to attend work. However, on occasion, this may not prove possible due to severe weather conditions.
3.1.2 Where police officers or police staff are unable to get to their normal place of duty they must inform their line manager at the earliest possible opportunity and where possible and practicable should report for duty at their nearest police station.
3.1.3 In the event that the weather conditions are likely to prevent an individual booking on duty at his/her station then it may be appropriate to seek line manager’s/supervisor’s approval in advance to take home items of personal protective equipment to be able to perform tour of duty at their nearest police station for the following shift. Officers may not take PAVA/CS spray home unless they have the appropriate fitted PAVA/CS spray locker at home (Kent officers please refer to policy O43g – The Storage of Incapacitant, section 3.2; Essex officers should refer to D 0710 Procedure – Use of Personal Protective Equipment, specifically section 3.4.9; authorisation must be given by LPA/Divisional Commanders for this). See W 1001 Procedure/SOP – ICT Acceptable Use (paragraph 3.11) for guidance on taking home mobile devices.
3.1.4 Officers and staff should best prepare themselves for leaving early e.g. ensuring answer phones are in place, preparing for remote/home working wherever possible.
3.1.5 There are also measures that all officers and staff can take to ensure that the chances of them experiencing difficulties in travelling to and from work are minimised. These include:
Ensuring their vehicle is properly maintained, this will reduce the chances of their car not starting, breaking down etc;
Driving only on main roads that have been cleared of snow etc;
Liaising with colleagues to ‘lift-share’ wherever possible;
Obtaining contact numbers for colleagues who live near them;
Allowing plenty of time for the journey to work;
Ensuring mobile phone batteries are fully charged before embarking on any journey. Ideally keep car charger in the glove box;
Notify the shift manager/ line manager of any bad weather problems they may have experienced in their LPA/Division in the past. This will allow some pre-planning to be done.
3.1.6 It is for an individual to decide whether it is safe for them to travel to work. Essex Police and Kent Police expect officers and staff to turn up to work but it does not order them to do so. The liability for the journey falls on the individual. Whether it is reasonable for an individual to travel to work or not will depend upon the particular circumstances of the case.
3.1.7 If officers or members of staff are not directly affected by the severe weather, they must be prepared for the likelihood of being retained on duty, in exceptional circumstances, should any of their colleagues be unable to make it in to relieve them where appropriate and practicable. This is particularly relevant as, if officers or staff cannot get to work, there will obviously be problems around their county, which would have a direct influence on workload as a whole. Temporary arrangements may also include lengthening shifts, but remaining within working-time directive in relation to rest periods etc., if problems are expected to last for more than a couple of days.
3.2 Time Recording
3.2.1 Police officers and staff who arrive late for work as a result of severe weather should record their actual start time. However, they may apply through their line manager to be credited with their normal start time if they have made every effort to arrive at that time. This would then be recorded as “unavoidably late absence” on SAP to balance their time statement. Where they are allowed to leave early because of severe weather they should record their actual time of departure.
3.2.2 Where individuals are unable to get to work at all and are unable to arrange alternative methods of working, the time lost must either be made up via additional work on an alternative date or deducted from annual leave/time off in lieu balances.
3.3 School or Nursery Closure
3.3.1 Where an individual responsible for the upbringing of a child has to stay at home unexpectedly because the school or nursery has closed and there is no-one else to look after their child, the individual will be eligible for time off in accordance with Sections 3.7 and 3.8 of L 11340 Protocol - Work Life Balance for parental leave and time off for dependents. This is limited to 1 or 2 days, any time off beyond this must be taken as leave time owed. Where no time balances exist individuals may seek approval for unpaid leave.
3.4 Officers Living Abroad
3.4.1 Police officers living abroad who are prevented from attending work or else are unable to return home because of reasons such as adverse weather conditions or industrial action will be personally responsible for meeting all such associated costs, including accommodation and subsistence.
3.4.2 Police officers who are prevented from attending their normal work place in such circumstances and who are unable to attend an alternative non-UK work place will not be entitled to pay. In such circumstances, officers will be permitted to use annual leave or accrued time owed to them to avoid a physical loss of pay.
3.5 International Travel Disruption
3.5.1 As a result of disruption to travel arrangements, from time to time police officers and staff are likely to be stranded abroad while alternative travel arrangements are put in place by airlines, shipping agents and tour operators.
3.5.2 Upon their return to the workplace, individuals will need to book the time off for any lost days on which they were due to work. The time may be taken off any accrued time balance, such as time on card, rest days in lieu, bank holidays owed or else booked as annual leave.
3.5.3 Where no time balances are available to be used, or individuals do not wish to cover the lost time with annual leave, individuals may be permitted to book unpaid leave to cover the lost working hours.
3.6 Travel Disruption - Severe Traffic
3.6.1 On occasions, police officers and staff may be prevented from completing their journey to Essex or Kent because of severe traffic; typically at the Dartford Crossing. When this occurs, individuals should go to a local police station to work. Individuals should contact their manager at the earliest possible opportunity with their contact details.
4. Equality impact assessment
5. Risk assessment
5.1 This protocol has been assessed with regard to its relevance to race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment the policy has been graded as having a low potential impact
6.1 The following were invited to provide feedback in the consultation phase during the formulation of this document:
• Unison - Essex Police and Kent Police • Federation - Essex Police and Kent Police • Business Services • HR Teams • Essex Health & Safety • Essex Diversity • Essex Strategic Change Team • Essex PSD • Essex Policy/Risk • Essex Supts Association
7. Monitoring and review
7.1 This protocol will be reviewed by, or on behalf of, the Head of Employee Relations every 2 years to ensure it remains up to date with current legislation and is fit for purpose.
8. Governing force policy. Related force policies/protocols/linked operating procedures
8.1 This HR protocol supports the overarching HR policy L1.
8.2 Data Security
8.2.1 Essex Police and Kent Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy.
8.3 Retention & Disposal of Records
8.3.1 Essex Police and Kent Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy.
8.3.2 We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected.
8.3.3. If you require any further information or to request any documentation referenced within the policy please contact [email protected] For general enquiries you can find contact details for Kent Police on the website https://www.kent.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/.