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Police leader chosen on coin toss

The embattled body that represents rank-and-file police officers elected a new leader today - on a coin toss.

Steve White became chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales days after the organisation was left stunned by raft of shock changes announced by Home Secretary Theresa May.

A coin was used when votes were tied after 30 committee members had voted. Credit: PA

Avon and Somerset officer Mr White, who was previously vice-chairman, had luck on his side after the Federation's 30-strong joint central committee vote was tied between him and Metropolitan Police constable Will Riches.

A Police Federation spokeswoman said: "The vote for chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales was equally split. In accordance with the election rules, the chairman was elected on the toss of a coin."

Steve White elected new chairman of Police Federation

Steve White has been elected as the new chairman of the Police Federation, the organisation told ITV News.

He replaces Steve Williams, who with its general secretary Ian Rennie announced in April they would retire in late May after "a turbulent period" for the organisation.

Theresa May dropped a number of bombshell announcements when she addressed the Federation's conference in Bournemouth on Wednesday, including the removal of state funding this August.

Read: Police Federation chiefs to retire after 'turbulent period'

Read: Public funding for Police Federation to be stopped

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Public funding withdrawn from Police Federation

The Home Secretary Theresa May read the riot act to the Police Federation today following a series of scandals.

She told them, if they didn't bring in reforms themselves, the government would do it for them by law.

Federation Leaders have called her speech a vitriolic attack, but members voted to adopt some changes.

ITV News' Lewis Vaughan Jones reports.

Police Federation needs to 'seize the moment'

The Shadow Home Secretary has said the Police Federation needs to "seize the moment" and bring in changes.

Yvette Cooper questioned whether a speech made by the Home Secretary would make it more or less likely that reforms would go ahead in the Police Federation - or be far-reaching enough.

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper believes the Police Federation is lacking a positive vision for the future of policing Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Theresa May told the federation's annual conference that if changes were not made of the organisation's own accord, the government "will impose change on you."

The Shadow Home Secretary also said that it was important to recognise the majority of police officers were working hard "to do a demanding job in difficult circumstances."

Theresa May 'went too far and should apologise'

Representatives of the Police Federation are calling for an apology from the Home Secretary Theresa May after she gave a speech at the annual conference telling them to "face up to reality", and announcing the withdrawal of public funding.

Theresa May
Theresa May said if the Police Federation did not implement changes, the government would impose them themselves Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ian Hanson, chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: "Theresa May demeaned the office of Home Secretary this morning in a vitriolic attack not only on the Police Federation but on every police officer in the country."

"Much has been said about professionalism and standards of behaviour in recent times - today Mrs May went too far and should apologise", he added.

May: Public funding for Police Fed 'not acceptable'

The Home Secretary said it was "not acceptable" that the Police Federation received public funding when it was sitting on "vast reserves" worth tens of millions of pounds.

Home Secretary Theresa May. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

In a speech to around 2,000 officers at the Police Federation annual conference, Theresa May announced the organisation would not receive public funding of £190,000 a year from August.

She said: "It is not acceptable that when the Federation is sitting on vast reserves worth tens of millions of pounds, it is in receipt of public funds to pay for salaries and expenses of the chairman, general secretary and treasurer.

"We have already said we would reduce this spending from £320,000 to £190,000 per year but I can announce today that this funding will be stopped altogether from August.

"Instead, the money will go into a new fund to accelerate the introduction of Police First - a new scheme designed to attract the brightest young university graduates into the police."

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Police Federation slammed as 'soap opera' by MPs

A report by a committee of MPs today gave a damning verdict on the body that represents rank and file police officers in England and Wales.

The report described the organisation as "less of a Police Federation, more of a soap opera," and said it is in urgent need of reform.

This report is by ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks:

Police Federation General Secretary also retires

The General Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Ian Rennie, has also announced he will retire at the end of the Police Federation annual conference on May 24.

Ian Rennie will retire. Credit: Police Federation

A spokesman said: "Ian has been the chief negotiator on police pay, terms and conditions for the last six years, leading negotiations on behalf of all police officers during an incredibly turbulent period in policing history."

Read: Police Federation chair retires after 'turbulent period'

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