UK & World News
Police Federation Faces Bullying Claims
A "systematic" culture of bullying within the top tiers of the Police Federation has been identified by MPs in a damning new report.
The Home Affairs Committee said it had heard "alarming allegations of bullying and unprofessional conduct within the Federation, particularly at the Headquarters," during an inquiry into the organisation.
It referenced a letter drafted, but never sent, to the committee by current Federation chairman Steve Williams, who detailed what MPs described as "shocking" treatment at the hands of colleagues.
Mr Williams, who is due to step down following the Federation's annual conference next week, said he had been continually "criticised, ridiculed and verbally attacked" after commissioning an independent review into the organisation by former Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Normington.
He said: "Whilst accepting emotions are running high in the advent of inevitable change, at times I have genuinely felt that I have been gratuitously and cruelly bullied and humiliated."
Mr Williams suggested his late predecessor, Paul McKeever, had suffered similar treatment.
The Normington report ultimately recommended far-reaching reforms in the Federation, many of which were echoed in the Home Affairs Committee report.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP said: "We were shocked by the scale of bullying that we found at the Federation's Headquarters. It rivals any popular soap opera.
"It is disgraceful that any chairman should have been hounded out for championing the long-overdue reforms set out in the Normington Report."
Like the Norminton Report, the committee has recommended that the Federation's national chair is elected by all members. Currently a 30-person-strong Joint Central Committee is responsible for filling the role.
MPs also found that tens of thousands of officers should have have part of their membership fee refunded, fees frozen in 2015.
It said the Federation was unnecessarily sitting on reserves of around £70m, far in excess of its operating costs, adding that a full disclosure of its financial affairs was needed.
The Police Federation represents an estimated 124,000 police officers from the ranks of constable, sergeant, inspector and chief inspector.
It is expected to debate the recommended reforms at the conference next week.