Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 16:44 UK

New leader for Police Federation

Police Federation chairman Jan Berry
Jan Berry has stepped down from the role after six years

A new leader of rank-and-file police officers in England and Wales has been elected, days after they voted to seek the right to strike.

A 30-member Police Federation panel chose Met sergeant Paul McKeever to replace Jan Berry as chairman.

Mr McKeever said being elected was a "great honour".

In her final speech Ms Berry accused the home secretary of "betraying" police over a recent pay rise and ridiculed her past drug-taking.

Federation vice-chairman Alan Gordon also stood for election for the high-profile role.

'Proud to lead'

Mr McKeever, previously chairman of the federation's sergeants' committee, said it was a "privilege to follow in the footsteps of such an influential predecessor as Jan Berry".

"I will help move the federation positively forward through a time of great, and often tough, change.

"The police officers I represent throughout England and Wales are truly remarkable people and I am very proud to be able to lead them."

Earlier this week police officers in England and Wales voted to lobby the government for the right to strike, a campaign Mr McKeever will now lead.

Of those who voted, 93% wanted independent Police Arbitration Tribunal decisions to be made binding.

And in the absence of binding arbitration, 86% said the Police Federation should lobby for officers to be allowed "full industrial rights".

Police have said the home secretary Jacqui Smith's decision to refuse to backdate the pay rise - a move which also affected Northern Ireland - was a "breach of faith".

They say the 2.5% pay rise set by the Police Arbitration Tribunal, and accepted by Scottish government, is not being delivered because by refusing to backdate it the rise is effectively cut to 1.9%.

Also elected by the Police Federation panel were Simon Reed as vice-chairman and Ian Rennie as general secretary.




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