With the General Election just one week away, Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says:

“Just before the General Election was called we shared our manifesto with all political parties and parliamentary candidates. Our campaign ‘The Future of Policing; continuity through change’ is aimed at the continued provision of a first class police service whilst we adapt to the changes we are presented with.  The manifesto outlines what we believe are the vital components we need to retain, such as the office of constable, but also outlines the changes we believe are key for the future, reiterating the need for a full independent review of policing that widely consults with all stakeholders, most notably the public.

As an apolitical organisation we have refrained from becoming embroiled in the electioneering and point scoring activity which has dominated the news channels and newspapers every day since the election was called. In our leaflet we have set out our stall and look forward to working with whatever government is elected on 6th May. Working together with the new government we must ensure continuity of the best of British policing whilst making any changes needed to guarantee a first-class police service for the public.”

The Parties

Who you vote for is your business, but to give you a summary of what the main parties intend to do which may have an effect on us:

Conservatives

  • Replace Police Authorities with directly elected police commissioners.
  • Make police publish local crime statistics every month.
  • Reduce police bureaucracy, abolish the stop form.
  • Amend the Health and Safety laws, which ‘stand in the way of common sense policing’.
  • Give police power to identify offenders.
  • Return charging discretion to the police for minor offences.
  • Process criminals more quickly by video link between cells and the courts.

In addition, Chris Grayling has recently, in conversation with Paul McKeever, stated that they have no current plans to change the current police pension schemes. (These however are due for review March 2011, regardless of what party gets into power)

Labour

  • Funding assured to maintain police officer and CSO numbers (subject to Chief Officers having the final decision)
  • Neighborhood teams required to hold monthly beat meetings with local people.
  • Where a BCU or command unit fails local people, management team/BCU Commander can be replaced or taken over by a neighboring force or BCU.

Labour plan to review police pensions in 2011.

Liberal Democrats

  • Cancel the national I/D card scheme and use the money to pay for an additional 3000 police officers.
  • Direct local election of police authorities.
  • Reform the police ‘with a full review of the very restrictive terms and conditions for police officer employment’
  • Turn the NPIA into a national crime reduction agency, to improve policing techniques.
  • Reduce time wasting bureaucracy at police stations with better technology.
  • Give more power to elected police authorities, including the right to sack the Chief Constable.

So there it is. As we all know, the wording of some of the policies leaves them open to very wide interpretation. Whoever is elected, we suspect we are in for a difficult time!