The Police Federation of England and Wales is the representative body to which all police officers up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector belong.
It was established by the Police Act in 1919, following a strike in London, when almost every constable and sergeant in the Metropolitan Police refused to go on duty. They were demanding a big pay increase, a widows’ pension, the recognition of their illegal trade union, and the reinstatement of those who had been sacked for their union activities.
The Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, gave in to the strikers on pay, but within months the Police Union was smashed and the Police Federation of England and Wales was established.
Since that time, police officers have been prohibited from striking by statute, the most recent being the Police Act 1996. It is not a union, but has a statutory responsibility to represent its members, that is all officers below the rank of Superintendent, in all matters affecting their welfare and efficiency.
The Federation today represents the interests of over 136,000 police officers, bringing together their views on welfare and efficiency to the notice of the government and all opinion formers. The Federation negotiates on all aspects of pay, allowances, hours of duty, annual leave and pensions. It is consulted when police regulations are made, dealing with training, promotion and discipline.
It takes an active interest in a wide range of subjects, which affect the police service, and puts forward its views on the members’ behalf. Thus, it not only acts as a staff association, but also as a professional body, able to influence not only living standards, through pay and other benefits, but also the development of professional standards.