Federation Chairman pledges to end high-profile conference session if delegates behave inappropriately again.
The Chairman of the Police Federation has said he will be forced to bring high-profile annual conference sessions to an end early next week – including that of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMCIC) Tom Winsor – if members fail to show enough respect.
Steve Williams said the Federation had lost “a lot of friends both publically and politically” when some members booed and heckled Home Secretary Theresa May after her speech last year.
Mr Williams, who spoke to the Politics Home website, said if the episode was repeated with Mr Winsor he would have no choice but to bring the session to an end early “because we cannot have that again”.
The annual conference in Bournemouth takes place from Tuesday, May 14 and Mr Winsor is due to give an address at 3.30pm on May 15.
However, the Federation confirmed to PoliceOracle.com that Mr Williams’ pledge would also apply to the session featuring Mrs May if inappropriate behaviour was displayed towards her.
Mrs May, who will take part in an organised question and answer session after her speech, is due to give her address after Mr Williams speaks to conference around 11am the same day.
Mr Williams said: “Tom Winsor is coming to conference. That will potentially be an interesting session, but I if things go awry I will stop the session because we cannot have that behaviour again.”
The Chairman has repeatedly called for members to be respectful towards controversial guest speakers in the lead up to the conference this year – as he hopes to avoid a repeat of the scenes that took place in 2012.
It is feared Mr Winsor could be an easy target, following his two controversial reports on officers’ pay and conditions before his HMCIC appointment.
Mr Williams said: “At the end of the day we are professional police officers and what happened last year at conference, the minority by the way, we are still trying to recover from that.
“We lost a lot of friends, both publically and politically, because of the way that certain people conducted themselves during that session.
“The Home Secretary does not have to attend conference – she is coming as a guest of the Police Federation and I expect my colleagues to treat whoever is at conference with that respect.”
The Federation came under fire in April for deciding to select all questions for Mrs May at the conference beforehand – and give her early sight of them. It said it was not seeking to vet questions at the conference but was trying to ensure a “constructive debate” took place.
Mr Winsor, meanwhile, had said he would take questions on any subject at the conference.
Fed: ‘No heckling May or Winsor’