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New rules mean full election results withheld by Fed


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Staff association in drive to boost diversity of its reps

A61C1766-A28F-4C8B-9CDB-BE7A76E1E881.jpegGeneral Secretary Andy Fittes

Elections for volunteer Police Federation representatives have taken place under rules which mean some winning candidates can be elected with fewer votes than losers.

Following staff association reforms, branches have to set aside seats for different groups – including allocations by rank and for ethnic minorities and women.

The recent slate of elections were the first to be carried out under the system and to use online voting.

The number and proportion of votes cast are not published so members do not have a negative perception about certain reps. The policies were set out in the 2014 Normington Review.

But some have complained about a lack of transparency in the process.

One recently retired officer said: “Voters don’t know whether the winners were shoe-ins or snuck in after a fiercely contested vote, or how the votes cast were distributed amongst all the candidates, or what the [local] turnout was. We're just being told: 'Here's your winner. Accept it'.

“I can't recall any other national or local, public or private election anywhere in the UK (or world, for that matter) where the actual results are not published. It's all very Orwellian and has taken place without explanation.”

A serving officer added he agrees with the need to boost the numbers of under-represented groups within the staff association but that the lack of explanation of the process has been “extremely disappointing”.

He added the national turnout of 25 per cent was not a sign the vote went well.

Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter said he thought the process had worked in his area. But he added: “I can understand people feeling there has been a lack of transparency because the information is not that easy to find, however I’m aware this is a new process and we’re finding our way and these things can always improve.”

Lincolnshire is a force whose proportion of black and minority ethnic officers is too low to reserve seats for specific places for them as reps.

But local chairman Jon Hassall said: “It’s been explained to us at many meetings, and for years we’ve had seats reserved for female officers so you could view this as an extension.

“It is difficult to explain [the voting system] but I do think it is incumbent on the organisation to try and protect people with those characteristics.

“I think it has been a fair process and while it is complicated, there hasn’t been anything nefarious about it.”

In a statement, General Secretary Andy Fittes said: “Positive action is not a new concept and it is mirrored in other bodies who have taken the progressive decision to combat the perception that organisations such as ours are inhabited only by white middle aged men.

“The rules around our elections and protected characteristics policy are quite clearly set out, and throughout the process we have signposted members to the relevant information using a variety of channels including articles on the website, in our magazine and through various newsletters to members.

“The organisation has rightly been criticised in the past for not being representative enough of its membership, so anything the Federation can do to modernise and address this has to be a good thing.

“Once election process has concluded we will conduct a full review of the procedure and publish any relevant data in accordance with our rules and regulations,” he said.

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