Police Federation faces renewed claims of bullying

A group of police officers seen from behind
Image caption The government said proposed changes to the Police Federation must be made "swiftly and in full"

The Police Federation is meeting for its annual conference amid renewed claims of bullying in the organisation.

The group's constables' committee vice-chairman, Andy Dumbiotis, complained in March that a senior colleague had been bullied at a federation meeting, the BBC has learned.

Both officials involved in the incident deny that any bullying took place.

Last week MPs called for urgent reform of the federation, after a report found there was a culture of bullying.

They also called for full disclosure of its financial affairs.

The latest allegation of bullying surrounds an incident at a meeting of senior federation officials on 19 March.

'Chastised child'

Mr Dumbiotis said the federation's vice-chairman, Steve White, who has said he plans to stand for the chairmanship, was bullied by general secretary Ian Rennie.

Mr Rennie had been "angry and overbearing" and the vice-president had been left "unhappy" and like "a chastised child", according to Mr Dumbiotis.

Mr White told the BBC: "I can confirm I was neither bullied or harassed and, as such, made no formal or informal complaint."

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Media captionPolice federation chairman Steve Williams tells 5 live: "This is a golden opportunity"

He said he was "disappointed" at the timing of the leak.

Mr Rennie said: "This was not an incident or complaint of bullying." However, Mr Dumbiotis told the BBC: "As far as I'm concerned I made a formal complaint."

The federation - a staff association which represents 127,000 rank-and-file police officers in England and Wales - said the allegation had been investigated and it concluded that it was not an incident of bullying.

A spokesman said: "There was no formal complaint to the Police Federation regarding this incident - the allegation was dealt with in accordance with the anti-bullying and harassment policy, which seeks to resolve issues as informally as possible.

"The parties involved were satisfied with this approach and the matter was looked into by the deputy general secretary. No case of bullying was found."

'Riven with infighting'

BBC home affairs correspondent Matt Prodger says the Police Federation has been riven with infighting.

He said the substance of the latest bullying claims was less remarkable than the seniority of the figures arguing about them.

Asked about the case, the federation's chairman, Steve Williams, told the BBC it was "unfortunate" there had been "negative reporting" about the organisation.

Mr Williams said the federation had "had some difficulties" but would take decisions at its conference that demonstrated a willingness to "embrace change" and become more transparent.

'Millions of victims'

Meanwhile a survey of 1,828 people has suggested that 63% of the public would feel less safe if the government continues to cut the funding it gives police forces.

The Ipsos-Mori poll commissioned by the Police Federation found that 93% of those surveyed said the number of police officers was important in affecting how good a job the police service can do.

Officer numbers have fallen by 16,000 since 2010, said the federation, which represents all officers up to and including the rank of chief inspector.

Mr Williams, who is stepping down after the annual conference, said: "This survey surely dispels any lingering doubt that the public would be alarmed about the affect that falling numbers of police officers will have on their personal safety.

"If British policing is to be able to operate to its capacity and bring justice to the millions of victims of crime, then it is vital that we protect and increase officer numbers.

"Without sufficient numbers of officers, it will be ever more difficult to perform our vital role."

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