Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, died last night.
Now is not the time for detailed obituary.
I trusted Paul with my identity. He was a Gadget reader and supporter. He used to contact me to give me his thoughts about things I have written and the comments you, the readers, make at the end of each post.
He was always a copper first and it was clear that he was proud of his operational service.
When I first met him, he took me to a tall cabinet in his office and silently pointed out the orders of service for every police officer whose funeral or memorial he had attended. Along with the immediately recognisable names such as Bill Barker, Sharon Beshenivsky, Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, were the names of dozens of other ordinary and largely unknown policemen and women. People like you and me.
It occurred to me from his manner that these things weighed heavily upon him.
The last time I saw him, he asked me over to tell me that he was resigning from his role as national federation chairman. He told me about his future plans and it was clear that he would have continued to be a high-profile supporter of the office of constable. Paul was well read and his knowledge of literature and poetry was impressive. Because of this, I decided to amend ‘Funeral Blues’ by WH Auden and dedicate it to his retirement.
Here, originally from July 2012, is my new tribute to Paul McKeever.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the police dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the sirens and with muffled drum
Bring out Group Four, let the shareholders come.
Let police choppers circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message Paul Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen and HATOS wear black cotton gloves.
He was our North, our South, our East and West,
Our midweek rest days and our Sunday refs,
Our Newsnight, our Question Time, our Hard Talk, our song;
We thought Paul McKeever would last for ever: We were wrong.
The office of Constable is not wanted now: out-source every one;
Pack up response teams and adopt Winsor Part One;
Pour away the goodwill and stay out of the Hood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
He liked this and sent me a typically brief-and-to-the-point message. “Gadget; Thanks, Paul”.
From a heartfelt eulogy for a fallen officer to his legendary 2012 conference â€˜speech without notesâ€™ Paul McKeever was dedicated to the welfare and wellbeing of all of us. Politically, he was a good thief-taker. Privately, he spoke passionately and with great knowledge about you and your situation.
Here, in this dark corner of the British experiment, he was called and he served. Paul was good police.