Police Federation of England and Wales
|Members||127,000 (January 2014)|
|Key people||Steve Williams (Chairman)
Ian Rennie (General Secretary)
|Office location||Federation House, Highbury Drive, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7UY, UK|
|Country||England and Wales|
The Police Federation of England and Wales is the statutory staff association for police Constables, Sergeants, Inspectors and Chief Inspectors in the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales. Under UK labour law, the police are prohibited from joining ordinary trade unions to defend pay and working conditions, by the Police Act 1996 because of the view that a police strike would pose an exceptional public safety risk. The Police Federation was originally established by the Police Act 1919 as an alternative system, which would serve to represent staff, and where disputes could be resolved through arbitration so long as the government (as employer) continued to bargain in good faith.
There were approximately 127,000 members in January 2014. Members can elect not to pay subscriptions and thereby not receive the legal representation and other benefits that paying members receive, but they still continue officially to be members of the Federation. In reality only a very few officers have ever decided not to pay their full subscription dues. Superintendents and Chief superintendents are represented by a separate staff association, the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales (PSA).
The Police Federation of England and Wales was set up by the Police Act 1919 after two British police strikes in 1918 and 1919. The government of the day were frightened by the prospect of the police going on strike and created the Police Federation of England and Wales and withdrew the right of officers in the UK to strike.
Police officers hold office and are not employees. Each officer is an independent legal official and not an "agent of the police force, police authority or government." This allows the police their unique status and notionally provides the citizens of the UK a protection from any government that might wish unlawfully to use the police as an instrument against them. Many observers mistakenly equate the Police Federation with a trade union. This is technically an incorrect assumption, as it was set up specifically by the government of the day not to be a trade union, however in reality the Federation does function in a similar manner. It negotiates with the Official Side on all matters concerning its membership's pay, allowances, hour of duty, annual leave, pensions and other conditions of service. However, unlike a union, the Federation is controlled entirely by serving police officers, has no political affiliations and has no powers to call a strike. That is not to say that the Federation remains aloof from applying political pressure, as the successful 1976 ballot regarding the right to strike and the 2012/3 "Plebgate" affair show.
The Police Federation is a tripartite organisation made up of equal numbers of representatives from the Constable, Sergeant and Inspector ranks. Each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales has its own federation structure based on three branch boards based on rank. The three rank boards meet as a Joint Board, or in the Metropolitan Police's case, as a Joint Executive. The 43 forces are grouped into 8 regions. Each of the regions sends a Constable, Sergeant and Inspector to the National Body called the Joint Central Committee. Due to its size, the Metropolitan Police federation send two officers of each rank to the Joint Central Committee. The central committee also has three 'reserved seat' members made up of a female Constable, Sergeant and Inspector.
The Joint Central Committee has responsibility for national pay negotiations on behalf of its members. It also performs many other functions, such as training, administering legal representation and liaising with government and other national bodies on policy and legislative matters. The present Joint Central Committee Chairman is Steve Williams.
Chair and general secretary of Police Federation of England and Wales both retired after "turbulent period" on 7 April 2014. Steve Williams and Ian Rennie announced their plans to retire from the police service at the end of May.
On 21 May 2014, The Home Secretary Theresa May announced that public funding of the Police Federation would end in August 2014.
- Great Britain Parliament House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (3 November 2013). Leadership and standards in the police: follow-up tenth report of session 2013-14: Vol. 1. London: The Stationery Office. p. 10. House of Commons papers 756-I 2013-14.
- "Police Federation must change, says independent review". BBC News. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- Joyce, Peter; Wain, Neil (9 June 2010). A Dictionary of Criminal Justice. London: Routledge. p. 186. ISBN 9780415492454.
- "About the Metropolitan Police Federation". Metropolitan Police Federation.
- "Who is Protected by Employment Law". Your Rights. Liberty. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "What is the Office of Constable?". The Office of Constable: The bedrock of modern day British policing (Leatherhead: Police Federation of England and Wales). p. 7. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "About Us, What We Stand For". Kent Police Federation.
- Official website
- Text of the Police Act 1996 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database
- bbc.co.uk: "Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever dies in hospital" 18 Jan 2013