A bit of banter between Twitsters yesterday gave birth to a #Hashtag.
@Roman_Viterus (yes, him again) put forward the suggestion that the Police Federation of England and Wales should be staffed not by serving officers but by retired officers.
As you can imagine, this very quickly provoked many responses.
Some were, for varied reasons, violently opposed to this suggestion.
Some were, equally vehemently, in favour.
Others were maybe non-committal but receptive to the idea, but with the exception of a small minority, most seemed to be in agreement that some form of change is needed.
One reason against retired officers running the Fed was that they’re dinosaurs and out of touch.
One of the reasons in favour was that retired officers would be far less likely to crumble under pressure from ACPO and government, precisely because they are NOT serving, and not subject to the same regime. Like it or not, that is how many outside the Federation see it.
One concern that was voiced was that replacement of the Fed with retired officers or civvies might lead to a short-term success but then an experienced void would be left, and the Service would actually be worse off.
I’m not certain that is necessarily true, but why shy away from change because of fear of the potential consequences. Nothing will change if nothing changes.
I am one of those out of touch dinosaurs, I admit it, but as a retired officer I hear things that disturb me. I have read allegations of bullying, sexism and extravagance about the National Fed. I have no idea if they are true, but it’s out there damaging the image.
I have heard members complaining about lack of support from the Federation. Again, I have no personal knowledge, but if the officers feel betrayed and let down that’s not an image that the Federation should portray or accept.
As a retired officer I have heard that the Federation are not supporting members, like myself, whose pension commutation seems to have been reduced by the government. I paid my subs for 30 years and I would expect the Fed to represent me, and the thousands like me in the same position, on any matter in relation to my pension, not just cast us adrift as ex-members.
If these things are untrue, let’s hear the truth.
It’s not my place to dictate what should happen, nor could I, but I don’t see any problem with sparking a debate. Let’s have some ideas. Does the Federation need to change or are we happy with what we have?
Is it lawful, or desirable, for the Fed to buy in some expertise from a relevant, large Union? As far as I know that would be innovative, but would it be useful? I previously posted a blog promoting the idea that the affected services work together in some way. I don’t know if that’s feasible, but struggling on in isolation isn’t getting us anywhere. Slowly, slowly the other public services are achieving small concessions from Central Govt. What concessions have we achieved?
Is there a case for a panel of Retired Police Officers, to be consulted on matters of policy and major disputes? Would their input be desirable or of any value?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti Federation and I have absolutely no idea what goes on at Leatherhead. The Police Federation have been brilliant in the past, and have much to be proud of, but Modern Problems require Modern Thinking, and I’m not seeing much of that come out of Leatherhead. Again, the individual offices have been doing some sterling work, and I’m loving the series of #CutsHaveConsequences videos (which I believe the public are supportive of too) but I’m seeing no signs of co-ordination from HQ. Am I missing something here?
What do you think? Does the Fed need to change? If so, how? As a total outsider now, I would say that some sort of change would seem appropriate, but what that change should be I’m far from clear about. I have a soft spot for the Fed, I was a Local Rep myself for a short period of time, but like other things about the Police, I don’t quite recognise everything I see now, and I’m not always happy about that.
I realise that not all of these comments can be universally popular with everyone, but if it stirs debate and leads to some kind of change for the good, then it will have been worth it.
Have your say and use the #Hashtag #FedChange.