Met Police Federation "considers its options" over breaking from PFEW
The Metropolitan Police Federation has confirmed it is examining its options over breaking away from the Police Federation of England and Wales.
Met Fed Chairman Ken Marsh confirmed to PoliceOracle.com the branch has been carrying out scoping work on the possibility.
Among the issues he says that have prompted the move are the pace of the Normington reforms – especially in relation to finance - and the associated costs of spending on consultants.
He also said the negotiating power of the Met might be greater if it was its own entity, arguing for things such as an increase in London Weighting.
“All I’ve ever wanted since I took over is to provide a good service to cops. I think we have done that locally in the Met, I don’t think we get that from the PFEW,” he said.
The branch is by far the largest within the Police Federation and generates a significant proportion of its income.
On Thursday afternoon chairman Steve White sent an email to reps at its national board and national council telling them rumours have been circulating about a Met Fed breakaway.
With it, he attached a letter he had sent to Met Fed officials requesting they clarify their position.
In the email Mr White said: “I did not want a situation going into conference where we were distracted from the important business of protecting the protectors by unsubstantiated rumour.
“I have asked the question on behalf of the organisation and we will get a reply.”
After the email was forwarded to Police Oracle, our reporter contacted Mr Marsh who said he had now been put in a position where he may as well speak about the issue.
“We’ve been scoping it for quite a while. Twelve constables, sergeants and inspectors representatives sat at a [meeting] and asked Paul [Deller, general secretary] and I to scope it,” he said.
“The Met Police Federation is a bigger organisation than Scotland and Northern Ireland. They are not part of PFEW, Wales might not be when they get devolution, and we’re bigger than them.”
Among his frustrations is the money held in local branch accounts, or so-called “number two” accounts, which Sir David Normington identified in 2014 as needing to be published. A recent checklist published by the national Fed describes this reform as “complete”, however the regulation is yet to be updated by the Home Office.
Mr Marsh said: “We want to be in a position where it’s all for one and one for all, but we are not going to be part of something where we hand over £8 million from our reserves when there’s little forces keeping millions in reserves.”
Mr White’s email also says: “I understand discussions have included ways to circumvent the current position that this would not be supported by the Home Secretary. I know that you will be aware of how damaging rumour can be.”
Mr Marsh says while he would prefer for the changes to be made via regulations through the Home Office, other methods may be possible – such as withholding payment from the national body, and said he thinks the plan might have political supporters.
“We haven’t got anything to lose from this, unlike the rest of the country if they lost the Met,” he said.
In his letter to the Met officials, which was forwarded to Police Oracle on Friday morning, Mr White said the branch is important to him.
“As we near the completion of the review and as we get to grips with a new way of managing our collective finance, to provide best value for our members, I know that the Metropolitan Federation view is one shared by many in relation to “number 2” accounts and the like. I am certain that by working together we can resolve these issues.
“The Metropolitan Federation is hugely important and influential and should be front and centre in helping the organisation change for the better. I want to know how I can help to give you confidence that this is the case, and reassure you of the importance that [I] attach to every constituent part of the Police Federation of England and Wales,” he said.
This story original appeared in Police Oracle. See it here https://www.policeoracle.com/news/police_finance/2017/May/12/largest-branch-is-considering-quitting-police-federation_94795.html