Police Federation braced for independent report
There’s a distinct nervousness among the police ranks in England and Wales this morning.
The Police Federation, which represents all 120,000 officers up to the rank of chief inspector, is staring into an abyss.
Not since its formation in 1919 following the one and only strike in police history, has it faced such a crisis.
Public confidence is waning not helped by events such as “plebgate”. Many police and crime commissioners and chief constables believe the federation has “badly lost its way”.
The future of the federation – members and representatives – hinges on the details of an independent report today. One insider describes it to me as “dynamite”.
By all accounts there’s been a remarkable silence surrounding details of this final report by the former Home Offices’s most senior civil servant Sir David Normington, given the reputation for leaks among the ranks.
He will not have forgotten the moment sitting alongside his then boss John Reid when he told a committee of MPs that parts of the Home Office were “not fit for purpose”.
That will be the fundamental tenet of today’s report based on a 10 month review and consultation into the workings of an organisation that has wielded immense power but riven by internal division.
Last year, the progress report noted “there is a widespread sense from outside the federation of an organisation that has badly lost its way, failing to properly project its members’ voice.”
No-one, I’m told, not even the federation’s chair Steve Williams will get sight of the report until this morning.
But a quick glance on Twitter over the weekend shows the jitters. Various senior representatives have issued messages of calm to the rank and file with phrases like “imperative we all keep an open mind” and “Monday is first step in what will be a challenging process”.
I’m told that some within are under the impression they can pick and choose among the proposed reforms.
The warning from the review panel is this is the “last chance saloon” for an organisation that is out of touch with the times.
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