West Yorkshire officer launches bid to take charge of Police Federation

A West Yorkshire Police officer, who believes officers across the country should demand the right to take industrial action, is looking to take charge of the Police Federation.

Sergeant Brian Booth is standing in the upcoming election for the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which represents more than 130,000 officers who are not allowed to join trade unions or strike.

He said many officers are struggling financially, as they have not been offered an adequate pay rise over the last 10 years, and they should now decide whether the PFEW needs to lobby the Government for the right to take industrial action.

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Mr Booth said: “I think most people concentrate on just the strike element – it is highly unlikely that the Government would give us the right to strike – but there are other actions you can take, such as withdrawing labour.

West Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Brian BoothWest Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Brian Booth
West Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Brian Booth

“To be able to do that would perhaps be beneficial, but I think it would also make the Government open their eyes and ears, and realise how badly they have been treating these people for the last 10 years.

“We can’t carry on, year after year, just hoping that the Government is going to give us something and then not be able to do anything other than send them a letter when they don’t.”

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Mr Booth, who has served as a front-line officer for 27 years and is chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said he will always stand up for police officers when they are unfairly criticised in the media and fight for their interests.

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“There’s a horrible badge that’s been stuck to the federation – it’s known as a toothless tiger,” he said.

“I want to show that as a new chair, I will go in and I’m not afraid to take the fight to the Government.

“I’m not afraid to get into the playground and get a bust nose. It comes back to Yorkshire grit.

“I think we’re known in Yorkshire for not putting up with flannel and going and getting the job done.”

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Mr Booth said the federation has been too slow to respond to officers’ concerns about key issues, such as the Government’s controversial reforms of police pensions, and he wants to ensure the organisation becomes more receptive and responsive.

He is also aiming to restore confidence in the federation after it was rocked by a number of high-profile misconduct allegations.

The last national chairman, John Apter, was suspended amid allegations of sexual misconduct which are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Another official, Simon Kempton was given a final written warning on Friday for “gossiping” about confidential information on the Wayne Couzens’ case while serving as treasurer.

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Mr Booth is standing against Ché Donald, who is the vice chairman of the federation, and Steve Hartshorn, a member of the federation’s national board, in next month’s election and the winner will take on the role in April