Police Federation of England and Wales

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Police Federation of England and Wales
Police Federation of England and Wales (logo).png
Founded 1919
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
Website www.polfed.org

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.[1] 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.[2] 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).[3]


Law enforcement
in the United Kingdom
Types of agency
Types of agent
Statutory Instruments

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.[4]

Police officers hold office and are not employees.[5] Each officer is an independent legal official and not an "agent of the police force, police authority or government."[6] 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.[citation needed] 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.[7] That is not to say that the Federation remains aloof from applying political pressure, as the successful 1976 ballot regarding the right to strike[4] 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.

The Police Federation is headquartered at Leatherhead, Surrey, in a complex which also incorporates the federation's national training centre and a hotel facility for federation members.

Election of Chairpersons[edit]

2014 Coin Toss Incident[edit]

The toss of a coin elected a new chairman of the Police Federation in May, 2014.

Steve White, an Avon and Somerset Police inspector, and Will Riches, a constable with the Met, each got fifteen votes when they stood for election as chair of the Federation in May 2014. Steve was elected by the toss of a coin, allowed in federation rules.[8][9] However, the new chairman stressed that the Federation would try to avoid using this method in the future.[10]


Steve White is a vice chairman of the Police Federation. It means that he is a person who stand for 126,000 general officials. After Theresa May say that the federation should change ‘from top to bottom’ and she removed, his name was listed. The federation has faced difficulty and had to reform. In order to decide new chairperson of The Police Federation of England and Wales, the members of the voting committee first did voting. But Steve White, who is an Avon and Somerset Police inspector, and Will Riches, who is a constable with the Met got fifteen votes each other. After this dead heat in voting race, the new chairperson was eventually chosen by the toss of a coin. The way is dictated by federation rules. The federation made sure of the way of selecting. He said "We have been given a clear mandate to progress the reforms needed to better represent the hard working police officers. We are all committed to the work needed to implement change."[11] Mr. White said that it is his responsibility to bring the federation together. He also said that he has to put back confidence of the people about police service, which a nation has damaged. He said, "We have been in a fairly dire place for 18 months ... we were quite close to being irrelevant." However, in his insistence, the government should not offend police officers and the federation any more. The organization has to be more progressive, forward-looking, and conscientious. He said, "I can understand how people felt like that. I felt I was under attack. There is only so much one can take. We were hacked off: our terms and conditions were ripped apart and we felt the government did not care. The government needs to reform their attitude to the police and their rhetoric."[12]

About Steve White[edit]

Before he took part in the Interim National Board, he acted under a captain. That is he was a secretary of the Sergeants Branch Board. He also served as a criminal reader of the Joint Branch Board and as a manager of the Inspectors Branch Board. The Interim National Board was called “the Joint Central Committee” or “JCC” at that time. In a sense, Steve White has made efforts to work severely and make every employees imitate him so that they serve in the same way he does. Steve White served as a machine guns officer on ARVs, a police who checks roads, a member of response team, and also a subordinate of the ACC Commander of a large BCU’s. Therefore, it is can be said that Steve worked in various fields and he has an inclusive administrative ability. Steve won three awards for his guts and leadership, because he was a very good examiner when he was in a Bristol. He also engaged in the Executive Board National Member Database project and in negotiation with ACPO.[13]

The situation which led to the coin toss[edit]

In January 2013,a press showed the very serious situation of the Police Federation, for the federation was bound to be quite another one. The whole federation created an atmosphere that they already did not have any confident in their own ability. And the chairman Steve White and the general manager Ian Rennie cannot help feeling responsibility.[14] To be concrete, about a scandal in the Downing Street, “Plebgate”, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and the government chief whip disagreed in a conference on September 19, 2012.Then, CCTV and other press reported the conduct claimed of Mitchell and he ended up resigning subsequently two months later. The claim is that he was not able to give a full account of the incident.[14] While the federation was thrown into great confusion, Ian has been run negotiation as a leading negotiator in the Police Federation for the last six years. As a result, England and Wales have published their retirements after the disturbance.(BBC NEWS, 2014, April 7)

The future of the Police Federation[edit]

Home Affairs Committee said that this trouble is the question of a convention of slovenly and untidy behavior in the federation. And it was also said that the Police Federation seems like a “punch bag”, for many policing mistakes was led to a bad reputation.(BBC NEWS, 2014, May 22) In order to remake the intermediary between the government and the police, the federation must set to work reforms which have huge scale.[15] Needless to say, it was very important and have an effect on the future of the federation that who would take the place of Steve Williams and would be chosen to be new chairman. Mr. Williams and Mr. Steve White were candidates. Will Riches was 39-year-old and he was a policeman from the Metropolitan army. On the other hand, Steve White was an examiner from Avon and Somerset police. Both of two men had their own opinions and pledges, but people had so little time to the election that new leader was elected by the federation with a 50/50 spin consequently. New leader must not cause trouble like calling officers “fucking plebs”.[15]

Police apology to Mitchell[edit]

Police Constable Keith Wallis acknowledged his mistakenly insisting that he had witnessed a quarrell. Mr Mitchell quited cabinet member because of the argument. He finally did not admit using a word “plebs” during the altercation. Wallis sent member of parliament John Randall a mail, and he claimed that he witnessed the row through the e-mail. However, he has started to think that he was to blame for criminal acting and he decided to resign. Eventually, Wallis apologized to Mitchell, saying that “Clearly there were ongoing legal and disciplinary issues.”[16]

Current issues[edit]

Three Police Federation officers, Ken Mackaill, Chris Jones & Stuart Hinton,[17] are being investigated for alleged misconduct over comments that they made to the media over the "Plebgate" affair involving Andrew Mitchell. After a meeting with Mr Mitchell on 12 October 2012, Mr Mackaill said, "He will not tell us what he did say. I think Mr Mitchell's position is untenable. I think he has to resign." The subsequent release of a tape of the conversation indicated that this was not the case.[18]

Chair and general secretary of Police Federation of England and Wales both retired after "turbulent period" on the 7th April 2014. Steve Williams and Ian Rennie announced their plans to retire from the police service at the end of May.[19]

On the 21st of May 2014, The Home Secretary Theresa May announced that public funding of the Police Federation would end in August 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Police Federation must change, says independent review". BBC News. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Joyce, Peter; Wain, Neil (9 June 2010). A Dictionary of Criminal Justice. London: Routledge. p. 186. ISBN 9780415492454. 
  4. ^ a b "About the Metropolitan Police Federation". Metropolitan Police Federation. 
  5. ^ "Who is Protected by Employment Law". Your Rights. Liberty. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ "About Us, What We Stand For". Kent Police Federation. 
  8. ^ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4098442.ece [July 17, 2014]
  9. ^ BBC NEWS. Retrieved: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27539387 [July 17, 2014]
  10. ^ Casswell, C. (2014, June 10). Future fed elections: ‘Coin toss is not an option,’ Police Oracle. Retrieved: http://www.policeoracle.com/news/Staff+Associations/2014/Jun/10/Future-Fed-elections-Coin-toss-is-not-an-option_83311.html [August 15, 2014].
  11. ^ Police Federation elects Steve White as chairman by coin toss. (2014, May 23). BBC NEWS. Retrieved: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27539387 [July 17, 2014].
  12. ^ Police Federation must rebuild trust, says new chair. (2014, May 30). the guardian. Retrieved: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/may/30/police-federation-rebuild-trust-chair-steve-white [July 17, 2014].
  13. ^ Principal Officers.Police Federation.Retrieved:http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/186.aspx [July 22, 2014]
  14. ^ a b Police Federation chairman and general secretary to quit. (2014, April 7). BBC NEWS.Retrieved:http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26923356[July 22,2014]
  15. ^ a b Police Federation reforms: Which direction will they take? (2014, May 22). BBC NEWS.Retrieved:http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27527229[July 22,2014]
  16. ^ Plebgate: Police apology to Andrew Mitchell.(2014, January 20). BBC NEWS.Retrieved:http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-25816104[July 22,2014].
  17. ^ "More Fed Officials Face 'Plebgate' Probe". Police Oracle. 26 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Ten police officers investigated over 'Plebgate' row that cost Andrew Mitchell his job". The Telegraph. 24 March 2013. 
  19. ^ http://www.polfed.org/newsroom/1963.aspx

External links[edit]