New national police federation leader faces 'huge challenges'

Darren Harris, Suffolk Police Federation chair

Darren Harris, from Suffolk Police Federation, said the new national chair faces a challenging role - Credit: Jason Bye

The new leader of the Police Federation in England and Wales faces "huge challenges" in his role, according to his counterpart in Suffolk. 

Former Metropolitan Police officer Steve Hartshorn has been elected as the new chair of the Police Federation, and began his post on Friday. 

Mr Hartshorn joined the Met in 1995, before moving to the force's firearms command, and became a federation representative because he wanted to help colleagues who were having a difficult time. 

Darren Harris, Suffolk Police Federation chairman, congratulated Mr Hartshorn but said big challenges lie ahead to raise the morale of officers.

“On behalf of the Suffolk branch, I want to extend my congratulations to Steve on becoming the new chair of the Police Federation," he said. 

"It is a real honour to be chosen to lead the organisation that represents rank and file officers and to speak up on their behalf in meetings with government ministers and other stakeholders.

“However, it is also going to be a challenging role. Morale among officers is low right now because they feel they are not treated fairly by the government and also seem to be under constant criticism in the press.

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“We are also in the midst of a massive recruitment process and yet we are seeing many of our new recruits struggling to cope with the demands of the training programmes.

“There are a number of pressing issues that the new chair must address and I am looking forward to working with him to bring about change.”

Mr Hartshorn said: “I feel incredibly honoured to have been elected as the next national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales. 

“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.  

“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.”