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The Independent Review into the Police Federation has found that sixty-four per cent of its members are dissatisfied with the overall performance of the Federation and ninety-one per cent believe it’s time for the organisation to change.

An Ipsos MORI survey of 12,500 police offcers was commissioned by the RSA as part of their independent examination of the Police Federation, due to be completed by January 2014.

Chaired by Sir David Normington, a former Home Office permanent secretary, with the RSA providing the secretariat, the Review’s progress report, found that the Police Federation needs to undergo a fundamental reform process in order to align itself with the public interest and serve its members effectively. The progress report says that the Police Federation’s…

“…Influence and impact on the public and policy debate has declined, just at a time when the police service is undergoing major changes and needs influential voices representing front line officers. It has turned in on itself and risks losing public confidence and its legitimacy to represent front line policing. It must change and change fundamentally. Otherwise it may become an irrelevance or face reform from outside.”

View the Police Federation progress report

Summarising their progress to date, the Review found that:

  • There is a widespread sense of an organisation that has badly lost its way, failing to properly protect its members’ voice and serve their interests.

  • It is incumbent on the Police Federation to pursue its members’ interests by aligning itself with the wider public interest. The Police Federation needs to adhere to exemplary standards of behaviour and ethics yet it has fallen short too often.

  • The Independent Review has found division wherever it has looked in the Federation: between ranks, between local and the national, and between members and the organisation as a whole. This dissatisfaction is reflected in an overwhelming desire for change.

  • The Federation could be a much more powerful voice for rank and file officers and help build public confidence in the British model of policing. Its legitimacy and its ability to serve its members depend on it doing so.

The Panel notes that events surrounding the former Chief Whip are creating expectations of change from inside and outside the Federation. Whatever the precise rights and wrongs of the case, those events are damaging the Federation, its members and the wider police service.  Members and representatives at all levels of the Federation are appalled at the damage this is doing to policing. The risk for the Federation, if it fails to reform itself, is that it is reformed from outside.

The Ipsos MORI poll found that sixty-eight per cent of Police Federation members are dissatisfied with how their interests are being safeguarded at a national level. This dropped to forty-seven per cent at a local level. The Independent Review found that members want to see improvement and change, with more evidence that their views are being listened to.

Today’s progress report lays out what the Review considers to be the ‘key characteristics’ of an effective Police Federation including high standards and ethics; transparency in decision-making and financial management; greater professionalisation throughout the organisation; unified internal mechanisms and the ability to speak with ‘one voice’; clear lines of accountability; better engagement with members and an ‘every member counts’ ethos.

View the Police Federation progress report

View the Police Federation final report

Notes to editors

1. For more information contact RSA Head of Media Luke Robinson on 020 7451 6893 or 07799 737 970 or

2. To contact the Police Federation call 01372 352 014.

3. The Independent review is examining whether the Federation:

  • Acts as a credible voice for rank and file police officers

  • Genuinely serves the public good as well as its members’ interests

  • Is able to influence public policy on crime and policing in a constructive manner

  • Is an example of organisational democracy and effective decision-making at its best allowing genuine ownership of the organisation by police officers and effective communication between members and the Federation at all levels

  • Is recognised as a world class leader in employee voice

4. Should the review conclude that changes are required to the operation or structure of the Federation, recommendations should be set out in such a way as to allow for a realistic phased introduction from May 2014.

5. The review consist of the following people:

  • Sir David Normington GCB, a former home office permanent secretary, and current First Civil Service Commissioner and Commissioner for Public Appointments (Chair).

  • Sir Denis O’Connor CBE QPM – former Chief Inspector of Constabulary, he has extensive policing experience at a senior command level and experience of the inter-relationship between all ranks and policing bodies

  • Professor Linda Dickens MBE - Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Warwick with an acknowledged and extensive record of academic research in the field of management and employment relations

  • Sir Brendan Barber - former General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) who retired last year. He brings extensive experience of representing employees and leading a national trade union organisation

  • Kathryn Kane OBE – former local Chair of Merseyside in the Police Federation who will be able to advise on Federation representation at both a force and regional level

  • Dr Neil Bentley - CBI Deputy Director General and Chief Operating Officer, he has an in depth knowledge of the business community and a background in industrial relations and equality & diversity.

6. Ipsos MORI survey technical details:

  • Members of the Police Federation were sent an open survey-link to complete. The RSA were responsible for co-ordinating links via Police Federation regional co-ordinators. At the start of the survey respondents are asked to confirm that they were members of the Police Federation. Those who said that they were not members were routed out of the survey. Respondents were also asked a series of questions about their service in the police force. This included their length of service, rank and their force

  • Results are based on 13,456 online survey responses, 1,212 of which were partially completed. Figures are expressed in percentage terms. Where they do not sum exactly to 100%, this will be due to computer rounding or multiple response answers. The number of respondents completing each question is expressed throughout

  • Fieldwork was conducted between 2 – 20 September 2013

  • It is important to note that the survey is neither a ballot of all members nor a survey encompassing a pure randomly selected sample of Federation members (which is not feasible given the lack of a centralised list of contacts from which a sample can be drawn). However, the research does provide a robust and widespread gauge of opinions amongst over 12,000 Police Federation members, with significant coverage across ranks and forces


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