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Police survey 'dispels any doubt' over public feeling

Police Federation findings that two thirds of the British public feel further cuts to force budgets would put their safety in jeopardy "dispels any lingering doubt" over the long-term effects of the austerity programme, according to a police chief.

Outgoing Police Federation chairman Steve Williams said:

This survey surely dispels any lingering doubt the public would be alarmed about the effect falling numbers of police officers will have on their personal safety.

If British policing is to be able to operate to its capacity and bring justice to the millions of victims of crime, then it is vital that we protect and increase officer numbers.

Without sufficient numbers of officers, it will be ever more difficult to perform our vital role.

The public is clearly concerned without sufficient numbers of police officers, the ability of forces to protect and serve the public will be severely hampered.

– Steve Williams

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'Almost two thirds' feel unsafe because of police cuts

Further cuts to police budgets as part of the Government's austerity programme would make almost two thirds of the public feel less safe, according to a survey.

Read: Sadiq Khan criticises cuts after prisoner absconded

Police
The Police Federation's annual conference is currently underway. Credit: PA

The Police Federation said some 63% of the 1,828 people they spoke to said they would feel more at risk if the Government continued to tighten police budgets.

There was overwhelming support for bobbies on the ground - some 93% said the number of officers was important in affecting how good a job the police service can do.

And 55% said their feelings of safety were influenced by the number of officers available to their local force, with 19% unsure.

Read: MPs: 'Bullying' Police Federation should refund members

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 needs 'radical and urgent reform'

If the Police Federation is to overcome allegations of bullying and mismanagement, they need to implement the findings of a wide-ranging report from a former senior civil servant, the Government said.

A Home Office spokesman urged the union to implement recommendations put forward by Sir David Normington, a former Home Office permanent secretary.

Police officers do a difficult and often dangerous job and they deserve a representative body that is transparent and accountable.

In his independent report into the Police Federation of England and Wales, Sir David Normington clearly identified the need for radical and urgent reform.

If the Federation is to have public legitimacy, the Normington recommendations must be implemented swiftly and in full.

– A Home Office spokesman

Bullying at Police Federation 'rivals a soap opera'

Bullying is so endemic at the Police Federation that it "rivals any popular soap opera", the Chairman of an influential group of MPs said.

Keith Vaz, who runs the Home Affairs Select Committee, hit out at the Federation for bullying its chairman Steve Williams, who accused senior colleagues in the organisation of bullying him in a letter handed to the Committee as part of their inquiry.

We were shocked by the scale of bullying that we found at the Federation's Headquarters. It rivals any popular soap opera.

It is disgraceful that any chairman should have been hounded out for championing the long-overdue reforms set out in the Normington Report.

– Keith Vaz

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MPs call for Police Federation to refund members

The Police Federation should refund part of its membership fee to tens of thousands of its rank-and-file officers after the union was found to be sitting on a £70 million surplus, MPs have said.

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

Police Federation
The Police Federation has charged members for more than their operating costs, MPs found. Credit: PA

The Home Affairs Select Committee said the £70 million far outweighed the Federation's operation costs.

The money could be returned to members as part of a subscription rebate, alongside a year's membership freeze and further reductions in the future, MPs suggested.

A 50% reduction in reserves held by central committees would add up to a rebate of nearly £120 per member, the Committee's report added.

Membership to the Federation is automatic for all police officers.

Read: Report finds in-fighting and cash rows at Police Fed

Tory MP: 'Seriously concerned' over unrecorded crimes

Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Commons public administration select committee (PASC), has said the "devastating" police watchdog analysis of recording crime statistics have corroborated with his committee's own findings.

Like PASC, HMIC is 'seriously concerned' about 'weak or absent management and supervision of crime recording and serious sexual offences not being recorded.

The police have failed to prosecute offences when they should have done. This both under-records crime and over-states clear-up rates.

HMIC says the same. They also accept that it is 'difficult to conclude that none of these failures was the result of discreditable or unethical behaviour'.

– Bernard Jenkin,

More: One in five crimes 'may go unrecorded'

Police service 'actively addressing weaknesses'

The National police lead for crime statistics, Chief Constable Jeff Farrar has said that officers join the police "motivated by a desire to protect the public" and not with an "intention of recording crime inaccurately."

This comes after reports by a police watchdog that say police may be failing to record as many as one in five crimes.

Chief Constable Jeff Farrar has said that the service has 'not always met the standards of data quality'.

Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said: "It is clear the service has not always met the standards of data quality that the public expects.

"The service is already actively addressing many of the weaknesses identified by the report: we're reviewing the way we record sexual offences across the country and we're working with the College of Policing to implement the Code of Ethics, which highlights the need for ethical recording," he said.

More: One in five crimes 'may go unrecorded'

'Serious' consequences of not recording crime

The consequences of police officers not properly recording crimes are "serious", the head of the police watchdog has said.

The Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, was speaking after a report claimed officers may be failing to record as many as a fifth of crimes.

The consequences of under-recording of crime are serious, and may mean victims and the community are failed because crimes are not investigated, the levels of crime will be wrongly under-stated, and police chiefs will lack the information they need to make sound decisions on the deployment of their resources.

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