At 5.06pm this afternoon, the Police Federation of England and Wales set itself on the track to reform in line with the Normington report following the independent review.
Backing an emergency motion put forward by the West Midlands Joint Branch Board, updated by a Joint Central Committee amendment, conference accepted all 36 recommendations in the report.
An implementation board will now be created, headed by an appointed project director, and an Interim National Board and Interim National Council will take responsibility for firming up the finer details of the recommendations.
The decision followed an emergency gathering of the chairs and secretaries of all branches of the Police Federation in the wake of the Home Secretary’s hard-hitting speech to conference this morning. Theresa May made it clear that if the Federation did not press ahead with the Normington recommendations the Government would step in and take over.
She told delegates: “My message to you today is that the police must change and so must the Police Federation.”
The Federation, she said, needed to show the public that it wanted to change and that she would be watching progress this week.
“If you do not make significant progress towards implementing the Normington recommendations you must not be under the impression that the Government will let things remain as they are.”
Her warning did not fall on deaf ears. The next session was led by Sir David Normington, who said delegates had two options in responding to the Home Secretary – become more determined to reform or embark on an acrimonious and prolonged dispute with the Government.
“The choice is yours,” he said, “But I don’t think you have quite as much choice as you had this morning.”
At the end of Sir David’s session, the emergency meeting was called and after almost an adjournment of around an hour and a half, there was an air of anticipation as national chairman Steve Williams talked about the independent review and stressed that it was important the Federation kept control of the reform programme.
As the conference entered the annual general meeting, the first emergency motion was withdrawn paving the way for West Midlands’ overarching motion to be put forward. The amendment to the wording was supported before the motion itself was swept through.