The reputation of Police Federations “is in tatters” as a result of the fallout of the “Plebgate” affair, a meeting at the House of Commons has heard.
Mark Nelson (pictured), Chairman of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation, used a speech at a Parliamentary reception to outline how Federations have a “reputation to rebuild and public confidence to win back.”
He told delegates, MPs and peers at the House of Lords at the event on November 6, “that the vast majority of police officers are shocked and appalled by the behaviour of certain Federation representatives.”
Speaking at the meeting, also attended by Police Federation representatives from across the UK, Mr Nelson said the fallout from the “Plebgate” incident currently “dominates any gathering of police officers and public representatives.”
“There is no other way of putting this,” said Mr Nelson. “The reputation of Police Federations currently is in tatters.”
He added: “Over the past two years damage has been done to the terms and conditions of serving officers.
“The behaviour of some Federations towards the government ensured that we were left friendless at a time when we need every friend in and around government that we, in other times, would have had little difficulty mobilising.
“Change has come to policing and now change will come to the Federations.”
Speaking about the Civil Nuclear Constabulary which protects nuclear facilities and materials in transit, he described the force as “one of Britain’s best kept secrets”.
While Home Office forces had been reducing in police officer numbers over recent years, he told the reception that his force had grown by 35 per cent – and continues to recruit.
“The threat of terrorism stubbornly refuses to subside,” he added. “That means that our nuclear establishments must not be allowed to become vulnerable to attack from terrorists.
“The response of the Civil Nuclear Police has been to move swiftly from being an armed guard service which has been unkindly regarded as a ‘dad’s army’ to a hugely professional elite armed police service.”
Mr Nelson also used his speech to highlight the need for a career path for the Civil Nuclear Police officers who can no longer carry a firearm.
He said: “Unfortunately for officers who lose the [firearms] accreditation through loss of fitness or dexterity there is an uncertain future – in that there are no clear paths to exit the organisation.”
Pamela Nash, the Labour MP for Airdrie and Shotts who hosted the event, encouraged all officers to communicate with MPs at local level “so they know exactly the stresses you are facing and the work you are doing.”