23 May 2014

Toss of a coin decides who leads the Police Federation

You couldn’t make it up.

Those running the battered and bruised Police Federation, lambasted by the home secretary into accepting a wholesale democratic reforms, went into secret session to vote for a new leader – a leader who would defend the ranks while wary of the government threats to impose changes if the organisation should chose to drag its feet.

The voting committee, which consists of 30 appointed or elected officers who make up the equivalent of a politburo, and whose existence will under the reforms be abolished, met this morning to chose between a current vice-chair Steve White and Wilf Riches, the head of the constables committee which is also being scrapped under the reforms.

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The result a tie for the first time in the federation’s 94-year history.

Officials joked earlier this week that if that was to happen, the decision would rest on the toss of a coin.

It was no joke. Will Riches called heads. The coin turned up tails and Steve White was elected to lead the federation into what must be the most unsettling times for policing, given the home secretary’s “get real, reform or die” ultimatum┬áspeech.

That does not bode well for the federation’s 130,000 rank and file members, 75% of whom are constables who now have no seat at the top table.

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