Po­lice union’s £1m ‘ be­trayal’ on me­mo­rial to fallen of­fi­cers

Daily Mail - - Countdown To Brexit D-day - By Stephen Wright As­so­ciate News Ed­i­tor

LEAD­ERS of the cash-rich po­lice union have been ac­cused of be­tray­ing the mem­ory of mur­dered of­fi­cers by re­fus­ing to fund a me­mo­rial to those killed in the line of duty.

The Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion of Eng­land and Wales, which rep­re­sents 120,000 rank-and-file of­fi­cers, had pledged to give up to £1million to­wards the cost of build­ing a new £4.5mil­lion ‘po­lice ceno­taph’ to re­mem­ber 4,000 fallen of­fi­cers.

Those to be hon­oured at the Na­tional Me­mo­rial Ar­bore­tum in Stafford­shire in­cluded 1,400 po­lice of­fi­cers who gave their lives pro­tect­ing the pub­lic, as well as those who died while at work. But the Fed­er­a­tion, which has a £26mil­lion lux­ury HQ in Sur­rey and mil­lions of pounds in as­sets and re­serves, has al­legedly gone back on its pledge to make a huge do­na­tion to­wards the me­mo­rial – plung­ing plans for the project into ‘se­ri­ous’ doubt. So far, £3.6mil­lion has been raised from the Gov­ern­ment, the pri­vate sec­tor and the po­lice, in­clud­ing about £250,000 from lo­cal branch boards of the Fed­er­a­tion. But an­other £900,000 is still needed for the me­mo­rial to be built and opened late next year.

The fund­ing gap had been ex­pected to be filled by the na­tional Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, which has been dogged by con­tro­versy in re­cent years. Sources in the Fed­er­a­tion said ver­bal re­as­sur­ances had been given by two of its se­nior of­fi­cials that up to £1million would be given to­wards the me­mo­rial project.

Sources added that its new chair­man, John Apter, who has been sup­port­ive of the me­mo­rial project, has been out­ma­noeu­vred by ‘old guard’ col­leagues and that the snub has caused bit­ter di­vi­sions.

Last night the widow of one of three un­armed po­lice of­fi­cers shot dead by a no­to­ri­ous ca­reer crim­i­nal said those be­hind the snub should be ‘ashamed of them­selves’.

Gil­lian Womb­well, 72, whose hus­band David, 25, was killed by Harry Roberts in Lon­don in 1966, said: ‘The whole thing is to­tally un­just. The fact that the na­tional Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion doesn’t sup­port this me­mo­rial project is in­cred­u­lous.

‘They ask the pub­lic to dig deep in their pock­ets to sup­port it, but aren’t do­ing it them­selves. They

‘The whole thing is to­tally un­just’

are be­tray­ing the mem­ory of brave of­fi­cers.’

The fa­thers of Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, two po­lice of­fi­cers who were mur­dered in a gun and grenade at­tack by one- eyed drug dealer Dale Cre­gan in Greater Manch­ester in 2012, urged Fed­er­a­tion lead­ers to change their minds.

Paul Bone said the fund­ing U-turn was ‘re­ally dis­ap­point­ing’. Bryn Hughes said: ‘There needs to be a place where peo­ple can go and have time and space to re­flect, and where they can pay their re­spects.’

De­tails of the dis­pute have been re­vealed in a let­ter to Home Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid from for­mer chief con­sta­ble Sir Hugh Orde, chair­man of the trustees of The Po­lice Ar­bore­tum Me­mo­rial Trust.

Sir Hugh said: ‘Whilst a num­ber of lo­cal branch boards (of the Fed­er­a­tion) have been ex­tremely gen­er­ous, it is dis­ap­point­ing that the na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion that rep­re­sents all 120,000 front­line po­lice of­fi­cers feels un­able to make a do­na­tion.’

The Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion said: ‘We have not de­clined to make a do­na­tion – the Fed­er­a­tion col­lec­tively has al­ready given nearly £250,000 and have been look­ing at other ways in which we can sup­port this project. The Fed­er­a­tion has not gone back on any­thing.’

It said a re­quest for an ad­di­tional £760,000 was ‘con­sid­ered too much by many, tak­ing ac­count of the fact that, as an or­gan­i­sa­tion, we had al­ready given al­most £250,000’.

■Do­na­tions can be made to the Me­mo­rial by vis­it­ing www.ukpo­lice­memo­rial.org and click­ing on the do­nate but­ton. Al­ter­na­tively you can make a £5 text do­na­tion by tex­ting COURAGE to 70171.

PC Nicola Hughes, left, and PC Fiona Bone

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