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Firearms and Taser lead elected as new Federation Chair

A Metropolitan officer has been elected to lead the staff association

National Board member and Firearms and Taser Lead Steve Hartshorn won in a vote where the turnout was 15,000 votes – or 12 per cent of the 130,000 membership.

His two challengers were the current National Vice Chair Ché Donald and West Yorkshire Chair Brian Booth.

A Metropolitan Police officer since 1995, he was an early supporter of the Pension Challenge. He got involved in Federation rep work after becoming concerned at the mental health support for officers.

He said: “I feel incredibly honoured to have been elected the next National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales. 

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Brian Booth and Ché Donald for standing as candidates and running very strong campaigns - they have my respect for being professional throughout.” 

He added: “My sincere thanks goes to everyone who voted for me, from the National Council nomination stage, to the membership for getting involved in the vote. The level of support and encouragement I have received has helped me through the process and means a great deal to me.”  

His campaigning was low-key as Mr Hartshorn is known not to be a fan of social media but support from the Metropolitan Police Federation for his candidacy made up for it.

In his election interview with Police Oracle, he made clear his primary concern was changing how the Fed communicates with its officers – and rebuilding their confidence in the organisation.

“There’s a disconnect between the members, the National Board and the Chair’s office. That’s got to end,” he said.

“I also want better physical and mental health support for members. Forces actually have to give them the time and the space to get better. I think we could do more.

He added: “And I want proper binding arbitration that actually means something in pay bargaining.”

Although seen as a moderate, he has been heavily critical of both the College of Policing and the Home Office over the case of officer W80.

Some members are calling for a right to strike as part of the on-going pay and pensions battle with the government.

In his interview with Police Oracle, he cautioned: “Be careful what you wish for. I guarantee if the government gives us employment rights, they’ll take something away.”

Other staff groups welcomed the result as a new chapter for the organisation.

Mark Williams, Chief Executive of the Police Firearms Officers Association, said: “The PFOA are proud of Steve and his success in the election to become the PFEW Chair. Steve has supported the PFOA from day one and is our current Chair of Trustees.

“His commitment to the welfare of officers and their families has always been his priority, and I am sure this will continue in his new role. We wish Brian Booth, also a PFOA member, and Che Donald, every success. They were both worthy candidates.”

Met Fed Chair Ken Marsh said: "As by far the biggest Police Federation in the country – representing more than 30,000 officers – it’s incredibly important that someone who intrinsically knows the workings of our force and our unique challenges is at the head of the table once again.

“Steve is also aware of the fantastic – and very often unreported – work of the brave men and women who make up the Metropolitan Police and we are pleased this will now be better broadcast on a national stage.”

Mr Hartshorn, who starts his term tomorrow, said: “I am looking forward to working with the National Council, the National Board and our members to seek the very best we can for policing, and with support, I genuinely believe we can make our voices heard to secure a better deal for policing.”

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