Coffee House

Keith Vaz fixes his fire on the Police Federation

16 May 2014

9:07 AM

16 May 2014

9:07 AM

The Police Federation is in the firing line this morning, and not before time. The federation sounds like something out of Rebus. The allegations of ‘endemic’ bullying and ‘cruel and gratuitous’ acts contained in Sir David Norrington’s report, and the subsequent parliamentary inquiries, date back over at least 8 years. With delicious irony, some of those allegations have been made against the federation’s equality and anti-bullying officers. The officers dispute the claims and say that the complaints were resolved on an informal basis some years ago; but you wouldn’t bet against further investigation in this atmosphere.

The central finding of these reports is that the rank and file of the police detests the “coppers’ union”. They blame the organisation for undermining public trust in the police (trust is the police’s greatest currency because they must maintain order by consent.) There is a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ at play. This is not the easiest time for the ordinary copper, whose pay and allowances have been trimmed. Meanwhile, as Mr Steerpike has noted previously, the federation’s headquarters in Leatherhead stand as a monument to the organisation’s hubris and the self-interest of many if its leaders. The plenty has continued to flow through Leatherhead despite ‘the age of austerity’. The federation is also sitting on more than £70m in cash reserves, which is the equivalent of £120 per member.


Enough, it seems, is enough. Sir David Norrington has called for extensive reform to ensure that transparency and professionalism are brought to the federation. The organisation must also offer value for money for its members, he says. In short the Police Federation exists to serve members, not the other way round.

The federation will convene for its annual conference next week to discuss these matters. The members will need to find a replacement for Steve Williams, the well intentioned Chair of the Police Federation who has been hounded from office by an internal cabal who resisted his attempts at reform. Keith Vaz, who runs the Home Affairs Select Committee, has called for the federation to adopt reform and return subscriptions to its members. It would be well advised to do so; Vaz rarely picks the unpopular side of the argument.

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Show comments
  • MikeF

    Public trust in the police is at an all-time low because they have allowed themselves to become the tools of people like Vaz in imposing sectarian, idelogically-motivated,highy-politicised policing on this country – particularly if the word ‘race’ in involved because if it is then the justice system of this country is no longer fair or impartial. They are getting what they deserve.

  • Terence Hale

    “Keith Vaz fixes his fire on the Police Federation” I am often intrigued by the power of a ballpoint pen with a tie on. Be it diabetes, select committee activity or just making a noise Mr. Vaz can do it.

  • The Patriot

    Call me a religionist and not a racist but Muslims shouldn’t be in chaarge of anything in this country… When will the civil war, that is inevitably coming, start, I wonder?

  • MirthaTidville

    Firstly the organisation of the Federation is a matter for its subscribing members and nothing to do with an oily oik like Vaz, whose own expenses claim didnt stand the test of scrutiny..Each Force area federation is seperate from the centre (Leatherhead) although the centre is the financier of last resort for each of them, hence money in the bank.All legal advice etc for every Force is also paid for by the centre. Without doubt it needs reforming and urgently together with new faces at the top. What it can well do without though are silly buggers like Vaz

  • ADW

    Keith Vaz is always friend to hare and hound, depending on the political expediency of any microsecond in time. Thus he promised support to Salman Rushdie before rushing out and praising in public those determined to murder Rushde. Supreme hypocrite through and through.

  • DavidL

    It’s depressing to see the state that the police representative bodies are in. We need an honest, impartial and reliable police force – and for the most part we still have one.

  • John Dalton

    Keith Vaz?! Don’t make me laugh. Every time I see this ridiculous chancer’s name – or his self-righteous fat little face – I’m reminded exactly why this country is in the state it’s in.

  • In2minds

    The Police Federation, so worse than ACPO?

    • HookesLaw

      They are both trade unions. What do we expect?

      • Tony_E

        ACPO is much more than that – it’s a commercial arm for the top brass.