The Police Federation faced a profound crisis in trust among its members, political stakeholders and the public. It decided to start by asking the RSA to lead an independent review. The aim of the review was to develop a set of clear recommendations that would harness the strong support for change, both within the Federation and externally, and make the Police Federation once again the trusted voice of front-line officers.
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In 2013, it became clear that the Police Federation was an institution at breaking point. A series of confrontations with the government left the organisation in turmoil and under threat. The lack of confidence in the Federation was damaging not only to its relationship with the public and political decision-makers, but was also affecting its own members. A survey by Ipsos MORI of some 12,500 police officers found that 64 percent of members were dissatisfied with the Federation's overall performance.
A wide range of people contributed to the independent review, including Police Federation staff, members and representatives, and stakeholders from across the policing world and beyond.
The Independent Review Panel drew on this wealth of information to produce a final report that set out the case for fundamental reform of the Federation’s culture, behaviours, structures and organisation.
The final report contains 36 recommendations aimed at creating a Police Federation that can act as a credible voice for rank and file police officers and genuinely serve the public good as well as its members’ interests. It provides a pathway to finding more constructive ways for the Federation to influence public policy on crime and policing, and to develop organisational democracy and effective decision-making through genuine ownership of the organisation by police officers and effective communication between members and the Federation at all levels.
Key recommendations include:
Creating a new ethics, standards and performance process for Police Federation representatives;
Publishing all Police Federation accounts and the expenses and hospitality received by individual officers;
Setting up a new independent reference group to evaluate how the Federation is meeting its public interest obligations;
Streamlining and professionalising Federation representative structures;
Abolishing separate committees for each rank;
Ensuring more accountability to members, including the direct election of the National Chair; and
Reducing member subscriptions by an initial 25 percent for at least a year.
The final report was widely endorsed, including by the Home Office, the Home Affairs Select Committee. In May 2014, the Police Federation annual conference accepted all its 36 recommendations.