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Fed Chair Election: First Candidate Breaks Cover

Julie Nesbit confirms interest after Vice-Chair Simon Reed says he will not be standing

A high-profile Police Federation member and campaigner for womens’ issues has become the first candidate to declare that she will run to be the next national chairman – after the staff association’s vice-chair confirmed he would not be standing.

Julie Nesbit, who chairs the Constables’ Central Committee, said that she had put her name forward as a potential successor to Paul McKeever – who is due to retire in January next year – and has pledged to deliver “strong leadership” if elected.

But Ms Nesbit, who has also chaired the Fed’s Womens’ Eve of Conference in the past, said that she had been “extremely disappointed” to hear that Vice-Chairman Simon Reed would not be standing and praised his hard work and commitment.

She told PoliceOracle.com: “I would like to place on record my thanks to Paul McKeever – he has been an outstanding chairman, taking policing through some difficult times.

“I was extremely disheartened to hear that Simon Reed will not be standing for the vacant chairman’s position. He has worked hard in the role as vice-chairman and I feel he should have had the opportunity to put himself forward to lead the organisation. It is after much consideration that I have decided to stand.

“If colleagues entrust the chairmanship of the federation to me, I will deliver strong leadership. Paul McKeever’s retirement leaves a huge gap and so we must now unite, build bridges and tackle the forthcoming challenges head on.”

Ms Nesbit told PoliceOracle.com that her immediate agenda if elected would be to “engage urgently with politicians, policing stakeholders and the media to safeguard and enhance terms and conditions of service and police pensions.”

She said it was important to articulate the “real dangers” of dramatic cuts to policing.

“We have always made it clear that officers are willing to accept their fair share of the cuts but we have also expressed concern at the rate and arbitrary nature of them,” said Ms Nesbit.

“Given that the coalition has explicitly told us 20 per cent cuts are here to stay, I would seek support from Joint Central Committee members to focus on working with government to ensure that efficiency savings are made without damaging the service as a whole and without punishing police officers.”

The decision of Mr Reed not to stand for election is likely to come as a surprise to many Fed members, who predicted that he would be among the frontrunners for the job.

It is understood that Steve Williams, General Secretary of the Inspectors Central Committee, is also interested in standing for election but has not yet declared his candidacy.

Mr Williams joined the Police Service in 28 years ago in Rhyl, North Wales after working in the banking sector. He has been a national Fed rep since March 2009 and is also a member of the Federation’s National Detective Forum.

As reported on PoliceOracle.com, members of the JCC will be voting in the new chair in early September at a meeting at their Leatherhead HQ in Surrey.

If elected, Ms Nesbit would be the second female chair in the staff association’s history after Jan Berry, an inspector who proceeded Mr McKeever.

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