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Police Federation Reform

Volume 594: debated on Thursday 12 March 2015

The Police Federation commissioned Sir David Normington to lead an independent review of its own operation and structures, which published its report early in 2014. The report raised significant concerns about the functioning and culture of the Police Federation and made 36 specific recommendations for change.

The Police Federation has committed to implement those recommendations in full and has made steady progress. The Police Federation has adopted a revised core purpose, which reflects the need to act in the public interest, and is now operating under a reformed structure of an interim national board and interim national council, in line with the Normington recommendations. I have continued to take stock of progress in this reform programme in my regular discussions with the Police Federation national leadership.

1 am laying regulations today to implement the further changes I announced at the Police Federation’s annual conference in May last year. These changes will mean that, with effect from 2 April, new officers will need actively to choose to join the Police Federation and choose whether they wish to pay subscription fees. Membership will no longer be automatic and the Police Federation will need to demonstrate its integrity and value in representing its members. Further, the existing rules around transparency and powers to call in the accounts for any money held by the Police Federation will be strengthened, ensuring it is fully accountable for use of its members’ funds.

Following consultation with the Police Federation, additional changes are being made at their request. These changes will allow the Police Federation to pay for the salaries of members elected to the joint central committee from the Police Federation’s funds, rather than police forces continuing to pay for officers who are not available to them. The changes will also mean that the Police Federation branches are required to pay a proportion of their subscription fees directly to the national Police Federation joint fund, and also any excess at the end of each year. This will ensure greater transparency and oversight of their finances.

Last year I also set out my intention to bring forward proposals to extend the Freedom of Information Act to cover the Police Federation. This would require a change in primary legislation. In the absence of a suitable opportunity in this Parliament, I am today publishing a draft clause that demonstrates how that change could be made in legislation, with the intention this would be fulfilled in the next Parliament. I will place a copy of the draft in the Library of the House.