Defence Police Federation
|Key people||Eamon Keating, National Chairman|
|Office location||Floor 6, MoD Main Building, Horseguards Avenue, Whitehall SW1A 2HB|
The Defence Police Federation is the representative body of Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers, up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector. There are 2900 members as of 2009. MDP officers can elect not to pay subscriptions and thereby not receive the legal representation, and other benefits, that paying members receive. MDP officers have their own federation because they are also part of the Civil Service and are accountable to the Secretary of State for Defence and not the Home Secretary; they also have different terms and conditions of employment. MDP Pay is directly linked to national settlements made by the Home Office and the Police Federation of England and Wales. The DPF also administer the Defence Police Retired Officers Association. With an 'all armed' membership the DPF maintains ties with the Police Firearms Officers Association.
Until 1971 there was no Defence Police Federation, nor was there a Ministry of Defence Police Force. Before that date, each of the three armed services had its own constabulary, with its own Chief Constable. Each of those constabularies had its own staff association. To boost its bargaining power these three staff associations formed a Federal Council in 1953, but this arrangement did not best protect its members' interests. In 1971 the associations agreed to form a single Defence Police Federation.
The new federation believed that the MoD's three police forces should be amalgamated into a single unified force. It argued that amalgamation was the only way to realise the forces' true potential, enhancing their officer's professionalism and so ending the idea that these Defence officers were somehow inferior to officers of other police forces; they also argued that Defence police officers should be paid accordingly. Even before the formation of the Defence Police Federation, the individual Defence constabularies' staff associations' had fought constantly against the notion that their members should receive an abated rate of pay. In the late 1960s the federation campaigned for amalgamation. In 1971, the MoD agreed and the Ministry of Defence Police was formed.
The next landmark in the history of the MDP was also, to an extent, the result of the federation's efforts. Ever since the establishment of the force in 1971, the federation had campaigned for an Act of Parliament to replace the maze of regulations, statutory provisions, and instructions on which the MDP's legal authority was based. The federation believed that such an act would enable MDP officers to discharge their duties more easily—and enhance their credibility as police officers.
The Ministry of Defence Police Act was a landmark in the history of the DPF. It gave full legal status to the federation and put it on par with the representative bodies of other police forces. The DPF's relationship to the Secretary of State for Defence is the same as that of the Police Federation of England and Wales to the Home Secretary.
2008 Libel case
In July 2008, DPF National Chairman, Eamon Keating, successfully sued former MoD Police officer Roy Large for Libel. Large was the webmaster of MODPOL the self-styled (and now defunct) "Unofficial Website of the MDP". Keating contended that "unfounded allegations" made about his conduct as DPF Chairman—by Large on his website—had seriously injured his professional and personal reputation; causing him "great distress and embarrassment". The court found in his favour and ordered Large to pay Keating £45,000 damages and to pay court costs. Keating has never explained how he managed to secure Federation funding for an essentially private case, nor how he would have refunded the Federation's funds had he "lost" the case.
The DPF employs a hierarchical structure, starting with individual station branches, these form the foundation of the Federation. These branches are organised geographically into three national areas, Southern, Midwest, and Northern. Each has its own Joint Branch Board committee.
Routine management of the federation is overseen by the National Executive Committee (NEC) who meet quarterly. The NEC is composed of national officers, area members and elected senior supervisory grades.
The NEC and its sub-committees are responsible for negotiating, and consulting, with the Chief Constable MDP, Senior Officers of the MDP and the Ministry of Defence. The federation also has access to the MoD Police Committee with either the National Chairman or General Secretary attending as an observer.
The supreme authority of the federation is the DPF Annual Conference. Delegates drawn from the three Areas consider policy and receive reports on the business conducted throughout the year. The conference may also debate resolutions about improving conditions of service and related matters, or revised the rules and constitution of the federation.
The Federation's constitution lists the organisation's main aims. These are:
- To protect and improve the conditions of employment of its members.
- To raise the status of the MoD's police force and to enhance its efficiency.
- To offer a welfare service to Federation members.
- To provide members with legal advice and assistance on matters arising from their employment.
- To make available to members, a wide range of benefits and other services including insurance.
- To maintain liaisons with representative bodies of other police services, when this is judged to be in the best interests of members.
Like all fully warranted UK police officers, MDP officers do not have the right to strike and they do not have redress to an Employment Tribunal if they believe they were wrongly dismissed. This is because police officers are excluded from much UK employment law.
MDP Cuts 2011
Like HDPFs and other UK government departments, the MDP are facing the possibility of significant budgetary and personnel cuts in the forthcoming years due to public sector austerity measures. The DPF are fighting these cuts and have accused the MoD of "flawed thinking" fearing it will go for short-sighted, short-term savings as their officers are more expensive than security guards such as the MOD Guard Service or Military Provost Guard Service. DPF National Chairman Eamon Keating stated to the Daily Telegraph that:
"Inevitably the loss of the experience of MDP officers would be to the public detriment and would be to the detriment of the security of the MoD, there’s no doubt about that. Public security would be potentially reduced."