Police officers are not allowed to join a trade union.  Police support staff are but not officers, which is one of the reasons often cited as why they deserve better pay and conditions – because of this restriction on their lifestyle.

Whilst there is no trade union affiliated with the police, there are three bodies who look after their interests as well as having other significant roles.  They tend to refer to themselves as “staff associations.”

Police constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors can, if they wish, join the Police Federation.

The Police Federation was established in 1919 after the Police Union, which was affiliated to the Labour Party and Trade Union Congress (TUC), called for police officers to strike to show their opposition to the forthcoming Police Act.  The strike call generally failed and all of those officers who took part in the strike were sacked.

The aims of the federation are to –

  • Represent and promote the interests and welfare of its members and to support colleagues to achieve the required professional standards.
  • Influence internal and external decision makers at local and national levels on matters affecting its members and the police service.
  • Maintain and improve the conditions of service and pay of its members.

In your stories, the Police Federation representative (who is a police officer of the same rank as the officer they are representing) could be present when the officer is being interviewed about a disciplinary matter.  At such a time, the representative can be referred to as “a friend” to the interviewed officer.  You could also have a Federation representative challenging a Senior Investigating Officer who is thought to be abusing their staffs’ conditions of work e.g. expecting them to work overtime for free or for time off in lieu, rather than for payment.

For more information about the Police Federation click HERE or you can view a copy of their monthly magazine HERE

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  1. Bren says:

    Thanks, Kevin. Useful to know.


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