'We will work with you'
Federation chairman Steve White pledged to work with the Government to improve the police service for the benefit of the public during his keynote speech to conference.
But he called on the Home Secretary to make a similar promise in return.
"I ask that you give an assurance to us that you will genuinely work with us; listen to us; take on board our views and opinions, to make the changes needed to ensure a police service fit for the future. That doesn't mean that we will not make clear if we think something is wrong…. Just as I know you will make it clear if you think something is right…. But it means we discuss it properly, we share views, we listen to what the other is saying and we look for agreement to work together for the good of policing and the public we all serve," he said in a 40-minute speech.
The chairman went on to acknowledge the errors at Hillsborough, saying, before leading a minute's silence in the victims' honour: "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families and friends of the 96 people who lost their lives."
The chairman went on to acknowledge the errors at Hillsborough, saying, before leading a minute's silence in the victims' honour: "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families and friends of the 96 people who lost their lives."His speech continued with a call for reforms aimed at making policing more efficient and joined up, with the chairman arguing reform was being confused with cost-saving.
The chairman expressed concerns about the IPCC, particularly in relation to the length of investigations and the way in which firearms officers were treated.
"If we are to have any chance of meeting the Government's commitment to increase the number of firearms officers by 1,500. Then those volunteering to take such a huge responsibility must have confidence that they will be treated as witnesses, not suspects, when assisting with IPCC enquiries. Confidence that enquiries will be dealt with quickly. And confidence that, should they be compelled to discharge their firearm in a split-second life or death situation, they will not automatically be arrested on suspicion of murder," he said.
During his speech, the chairman also:
- Asked the Home Secretary to commit to increasing sentences for those who assault public servants
- Called for increased funding for a roll-out of Taser
- Urged the Home Secretary to recognise the commitment and professionalism of police officers and never take them for granted.