A Great Loss to British Policing!

English: Metropolitan Police officers on patro...

Today, police officers in England and Wales have heard about the forthcoming retirement of Paul McKeever. However, knowing Paul as I do, it is highly unlikely that he will actually turn his back on policing, or the myriad of issues the service currently faces. Paul’s passion for the service and those who work within it on our behalf, like most of us who have served, is likely to continue unstinted for several years to come.

His departure from the Police Federation will undoubtedly leave a massive hole in the system of staff representation and it’s negotiating framework, one that will undoubtedly be difficult to fill. His retirement also has the potential to further damage and/or undermine an already dwindling level of support for The Voice of policing.

Cuts Prompt Fed Chairs Departure | UK Police News: Paul McKeever, the Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, will retire in January 2013, claiming he cannot remain with the Police Service while it is under attack…(Police Oracle)

Police Federation of England and Wales

Unfortunately, the Police Federation has come in for some scathing criticism of late, from both internal and external sources. Some of the more militant members within policing have branded the organisation as a toothless wonder whilst externally; heads of some public sector unions, many in the private sector, various MPs and a selection of political activists have been even more disparaging.

Many, for whatever personal or organisational reasoning, have sought to belittle or undermine any or all of the recent concerns raised by the Police Federation. Concerns and observations that have been raised in light of Government proposals for reform and modernisation of OUR police service.

Yes, issues around individual conditions of service and financial impacts being faced by police officers have (rightly) been highlighted however; many concerns raised by the Police Federation have actually had more to do with overall service efficiency and the quality of service delivery. The negative impacts we the public will face as a consequence of government induced changes to policing. Changes that may be dressed up as ‘modernisation’ and ‘reform’ but in many respects, are little more than a direct result of political and financial direction.

Paul retires at the apex of what is arguably, one of the most difficult periods in the history of British policing. He was and is a well-respected, well-educated and highly efficient and easily understood orator. A person who can and has explained difficult policing issues in terms that those outside the service should be able to understand. The fact that many (in and outside the service), chose not to ignore Paul’s advice and observations is not a failing that should be attributed to him.

The gaping hole left by Paul’s departure will be difficult to fill and his undoubted value to the service should never be underestimated.

I cannot stay within a service that is having the Office of Constable attacked, police officers denigrated and public safety put at risk. I will be able to fight freely outside the service; I may be retiring but I will not stop fighting for what is right and for public safety. The police service is full of extraordinary men and women, some of the finest in the country. It is a privilege and an honour to represent you. Stay strong…(Paul McKeever)

Paul… Thank you for your effective and professional leadership and skillful management of The Police Federation. Your unstinting efforts and hard work to protect our once great police service has not gone unnoticed. It’s a shame that the service you and I originally joined is set to change out of all recognition. A service that is unlikely to ever achieve the erstwhile levels of world-wide acclaim it once enjoyed… I hope you have a very long and happy retirement.

One thought on “A Great Loss to British Policing!

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