Police leader elected on a coin toss

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THE embattled body that represents rank-and-file police officers has elected a new leader on a coin toss.

Steve White became chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales days after the organisation was left stunned by raft of shock changes announced by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Avon and Somerset officer Mr White, who was previously vice-chairman, had luck on his side after the Federation’s 30-strong joint central committee vote was tied between him and Metropolitan Police constable Will Riches.

Mr White said: “I am honoured to have been elected chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales at such a pivotal time for the organisation.

“This has been an historic week. We have been given a clear mandate to progress the reforms needed to better represent the hard working police officers throughout England and Wales.

“We are all committed to the work needed to implement change to the Police Federation. This is not the end of the road; it is the start of the journey.”

A Police Federation spokeswoman added: “The vote for chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales was equally split. In accordance with the election rules, the chairman was elected on the toss of a coin.”

Mr White replaces Steve Williams, who with its general secretary Ian Rennie announced in April they would retire in late May after “a turbulent period” for the organisation.

Theresa May dropped a number of bombshell announcements when she addressed the Federation’s conference in Bournemouth on Wednesday, including the removal of state funding this August.