The Police Federation of England and Wales

The Police Federation of England and Wales is one of the largest staff association’s in the UK, representing the interests of all police constables, sergeants and inspectors (including chief inspectors).

History of the Federation

The Police Federation was founded in 1919, ninety years after the Police Act 1829 brought the Metropolitan Police into being.  In that period, police officers were denied the right to form any kind of association to protect their interests.  Until 1890, the police had no statutory right to a pension.  The Government and the police authorities did their utmost to ensure that police forces remained immune from the growing trade union movement, which was seen as a major threat to the establishment.


The Police Union which was affiliated to the Labour party and the TUC called a strike.


Government appointed Committee of Inquiry under Lord Desborough examined the police service.  It announced that the police would be allowed an internal representative body, but the Police Union would never be recognised and police who belonged to it would have to resign their membership.  It also recommended that the Home Secretary should become responsible to Parliament for the entire police service.  Police Act 1919 established the Police Federation and awarded the entire police service a substantial increase in pay.

Police Union called a strike to oppose the Police Act and demanded recognition of the Police Union. Strike defeated and all officers who took part in the strike were dismissed.


Police Council draws up first Police Regulations, setting out standard conditions of service.


The Police Appeals Act gives officers a right to appeal to the Home Secretary against serious disciplinary punishments.


The police get their first pay increase since Desborough.


The first Federation journal – The Newsletter – begins publication.


In response to Federation criticisms of bad management and lack of modern equipment, Home Secretary establishes an inquiry by the Police Advisory Board (PAB) into manpower, equipment and efficiency.  Compulsory force mergers to reduce the number of forces from 126 to 49.


POLICE magazine begins publication.


The Equal Pay Act gives equal pay to woman police officers.


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