Police Federation Chairman comments on "difficult day" for the Home Secretary

Wednesday, 25 May, 2011

Following his explosive speech at the Police Federation conference in Bournemouth last week, Federation Chairman Paul McKeever, revealed in an exclusive interview with www.policingtoday.co.uk that he is yet to receive a response to his concerns from the home secretary, Theresa May.

The interview took place on the last day of the annual conference, which came to national attention the day before when May and McKeever delivered two significant speeches, one after the other. The Home Secretary's speech was met with a wall of silence from the thousand-strong crowd in the packed auditorium when she defended 20 per cent cuts in funding for the police service. She maintained, however, that the police were not being singled out: "Not all of you will like what I have to say, but it's not my job to duck the difficult decisions and tell you what you want to hear" she told the conference.

In his presentation, Paul McKeever referred to the 40,000-plus survey of police officers which was carried out by the Federation, revealing an apparently record low in morale amongst officers, and predicted an imminent 'breaking of the service' if government reforms continue as they have been. He accused the home secretary of attempting to diminish the service, and of basing coalition initiatives on false models and premises. He also accused her of not listening to the service, and not defending it during the Comprehensive Spending Review at the end of last year. His controversial presentation received a standing ovation from the conference delegates.

Speaking to Policing Today Editor Philip Mason, he commented that: "Over 90 per cent of the officers surveyed said that they themselves, or someone they know, have thought about leaving the service in light of the recent announcements from the home office, while 85 per cent have serious concerns about policing". He went on to admit that the highlight of the conference for many was his addressing the home secretary: "While we appreciate that it was a difficult day for her, this is something that desperately needed to be addressed and so we took the opportunity to put the concerns of all our members, from all over the country, to her". When questioned if he had had a response from the home secretary as yet, he responded: "No, we haven't had any comment as yet", and anticipated that it would probably be some time before the home secretary offers "adequate feedback".

Return to news menu