Sheehy 'threatens to destroy police': Home Secretary warned over 'shambolic' report

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IMPLEMENTING the Sheehy report in full would destroy the police service as it stands today, Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, was warned last night.

Richard Coyles, chairman-elect of the Police Federation of England and Wales, told a protest meeting in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, attended by more than 1,000 police officers, that the service owed the Sheehy committee a debt of thanks - it had managed to unite all ranks of the service in a manner not seen for 75 years.

Last week, Sir Hugh Annesley, Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and three other chief constables in England and Wales, suggested that they would resign rather than preside over the implementation in full of the Sheehy report.

Last night, Tony Leonard, Chief Constable of Humberside, joined Mr Coyles and leaders of the Superintendents' Association on the platform at Harrogate. The service is opposed to key Sheehy proposals, including fixed-term appointments and performance-related pay for junior ranks, changes in pension rights and sick leave, and the increase in retirement age to 60. Although chief constables stand to benefit from performance bonuses, they are concerned about the effects on morale and recruitment.

Mr Coyles said that the report was a 'shambolic misconception' of policing. 'Let the Home Secretary understand that, while the service says 'No' to Sheehy, we do not say 'No' to change.'

The federation had called for a Royal Commission on the police and had advocated a number of changes, including an appraisal system and a flatter rank structure, Mr Coyles said. 'What he must not do is force this report on a police service that wants no truck with it at all, because that will destroy the British police service as we know it,' he added. Last month, 23,000 officers attended a rally at Wembley Arena to oppose the report. Mr Howard is expected to give his views in the autumn, before the planned Police Bill.

(Photograph omitted)