The Home Secretary has said the public can no longer continue to fund the Police Federation when it has vast reserves of its own.
Theresa May told the Police Federation annual conference that funding would be cut from August because it was “not acceptable” for it to continue when the organisation had tens of millions of pounds in its reserves.
Mrs May had already said spending would be reduced from £320,000 to £190,000 each year but now has said it will be cut completely.
In a bruising speech, Mrs May listed a string of controversies faced by the police, including the Plebgate row, involving misconduct over the investigation into the Downing Street incident involving the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, and the Hillsborough report.
She said: “If there’s anybody in this hall who doubts that our model of policing is at risk, if there is anybody who underestimates the damage recent events and revelations have done to the relationship between the public and the police, if anybody here questions the need for the police to change, I am here to tell you that it’s time to face up to reality.
Via ItsMyCarpet on YouTube
Mrs May said that if the Police Federation did not accept reforms recommended by Sir David Normington then “we will impose change on you.” Her speech was greeted by silence from officers. During a question and answer session that followed one officer, who had served for 21 years, told the Home Secretary: “I’ve never had such an attack and a personal kicking from what you said there.” He added: “You’re threatening to bully us.” Mrs May told the Federation a third of the public no longer trusted officers to tell the truth as a result of a number of high profile scandals. She added that it was “not enough to mouth platitudes about a few bad apples”.
In January a report commissioned by the former chief civil servant at the Home Office, Sir David Normington, found the organisation was riven by deep divisions between leaders. It also found there was”a culture of secrecy” over finances with £64.5m held in reserves with a number of local branches refusing to give details of accounts where funds were held. The report warned that the organisation,which represents 124,000 rank and file officers, must reform. As well as cutting funding, Mrs May said officers would no longer automatically become members of the Police Federation but would now have to opt to belong.
Outgoing chairman of the Police Federation Steve Williams blamed the media for the increasing hostility to the Police Federation saying there had been “negative story after negative story”. He told officers: “And while the good deeds of our members are occasionally rightly reflected in the local media, a focus on your efforts and the efforts of Fed reps across the country has become difficult in the haze of negativity and media furore.” Mr Williams also called for a guarantee police killers would be given whole life sentences. He also warned about the falling number of officers next to the increasing number of those employed by police watchdogs and added: “If this trend continues we will have more people watching those policing, than those actually doing it.”