Theresa May strips Police Federation of its public funding

Home Secretary promises to 'impose change' in wake of Plebgate row, Stephen Lawrence inquiry and alleged cover-up of failings with the Hillsborough disaster

The Police Federation will be stripped of its public funding, Theresa May has announced, as she warned the embattled group that it must accept dramatic reforms in the wake of the Plebgate affair.

Speaking at the group’s annual conference, the Home Secretary warned that the Government would “impose change” on the 95-year-old organisation after listing scandals such as the Stephen Lawrence inquiry and alleged cover-up of failings with the Hillsborough disaster.

The Federation came under fire earlier this year after it emerged that the 127,000-member organisation had some £70m in reserves. The Government has previously reduced funding from £320,000 to £190,000 a year. But Mrs May, who was listened to in silence by some 2,000 delegates in Bournemouth, said: “I can announce today that this funding will be stopped altogether from August.”

She also announced that the officers would no longer automatically become members of the Federation, and instead would have to opt in. She also said that details of the Federation’s accounts would have to be published and the organisation would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Steve Williams, the current chairman of the Federation, which represents officers up to the rank of chief inspector, leaves his post after the conference after becoming the focus of vicious in-fighting after his calls for reform.

Today, members decided to adopt the 36 recommendations of an independent review ordered by Mr Williams.

After the speech, Mr Williams said: “We have already indicated we are an organisation that is willing to change and it is for us to make the key decisions around reform over the next few days.”

The speech comes as Scotland Yard announced that a fourth officer had been sacked for her involvement in the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of Andrew Mitchell.