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Police say Federation 'must change'

Source BBC News@

Police officersThe Police Federation represents every police officer in England and Wales

Ninety-one per cent of police officers believe it is time for the organisation that represents them, the Police Federation, to change, an independent review has suggested.

The survey of 12,500 police officers also found 64% are dissatisfied with the performance of the federation.

Members are "appalled" at the damage the "plebgate" affair is doing to policing, the review has found.

The federation called the initial findings "worrying".

The final report on the federation is expected in January 2014.

The review is examining whether the Police Federation acts as a credible voice for officers, genuinely serves the public good and functions as an organisational democracy.

It is being conducted by a panel and is chaired by former Home Office permanent secretary, Sir David Normington, with the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) providing the secretariat.

'Turned on itself'

The Police Federation represents all police officers at all levels in England and Wales. Home Office figures showed there were 129,584 full-time police officers in the 43 forces in England and Wales on 31 March.

The progress report said the federation's "influence and impact on the public and policy has declined".

It had happened, the report said, "just at a time when the police service is undergoing major changes and needs influential voices representing front-line officers".

It continued: "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."

The Police Federation said "clearly the initial findings are worrying and raise a number of issues for consideration and further debate within the organisation".

"We must not lose sight of the fact that it was the new incoming chair of the Police Federation, Steve Williams, who asked for an independent review to be carried out, in January, because of the concerns that had been raised concerning the federation and some of its working practices.

"It was important that we understood how these impacted on the federation and how we could change the organisation to ensure that we were fit for purpose moving forward.

"As the progress report highlights, the federation is an organisation that is in need of change."

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