Heated exchanges at constables’ meeting as a move to oust Steve Williams is quashed.
Calls for a vote of no confidence in the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales have been quashed at the Constablesâ€™ Central Conference.
The emergency motion, proposed by Sarah Stevens-Burns of the West Midlands Branch Board, called into question Mr Williamsâ€™ leadership. It was defeated with 168 voting against and 120 voting for during the conference in Bournemouth.
The vote was the latest show of anger in the wake of an independent review announced by the Mr Williams (pictured). The move recently prompted accusations from Constablesâ€™ Central Committee Chair Will Riches that the correct protocols had not been followed.
The committee had initially withheld constablesâ€™ subscriptions from the staff associationâ€™s joint fund in protest. But the wrangle was later resolved and Mr Riches urged officers to engage with review.
Addressing delegates, however, Ms Stevens-Burns was adamant that Mr Williams had acted outside his powers as chairman and called for action to be taken against him.
She added: â€œIt was very clear that this review would be pressing ahead with or without us. He was acting outside of his powers and that means it was illegal.â€
Ms Stevens-Burns added that, even though the committee had chosen to re-engage with the joint board, â€œthere is quite frankly nothing to engage with â€“ we have been painted into a cornerâ€.
She said: â€œOur members have no appetite for this review. They want us to protect them against the pay and conditions forced upon them. We represent 80 per cent of the Federation membership. The decision should not be made about us without us.
â€œDo we really have confidence in the chairman?â€
Ian Pointon, Chairman of Kent Police Federation, urged members to oppose the motion, saying that it amounted to â€œbullyingâ€. â€œLetâ€™s not turn this into a public flogging, Mr Williams is working under extremely difficult circumstances,â€ he said.
Echoing the officialâ€™s sentiment Steve Smith, from Durham added: â€œWe are wasting time discussing petty politics and we must, as an organisation, support him.â€
Dave James, from Devon and Cornwall Fed, warned that if the motion was passed, the constables committee would be left on its own. â€œAre the sergeants and inspectors going to join us? No they will not. If we vote yes where will it take us?â€
In an interview with PoliceOracle.com following the conference, Mr Riches admitted that he was pleased with the outcome of the vote. â€œThese are difficult times for everyone and we are all being stretched,â€ he added. â€œWe should all be behind Steve Williams and accept that we all make mistakes sometimes.â€
No confidence vote in Fed chair defeated