Po­lice union in £1m ‘be­trayal’ of fallen of­fi­cers

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

LEAD­ERS of a 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-and­file 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 next year.

The fund­ing gap had been ex­pected to be filled by the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion. 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.

Last night, Vic­to­ria Mor­ri­son, 52, whose Glas­gow-born po­lice of­fi­cer hus­band Jim was mur­dered by an uniden­ti­fied bag thief in Cen­tral Lon­don in 1991, de­scribed the Fed­er­a­tion snub as a ‘bit of a blow’.

She said: ‘I am dis­ap­pointed. There is ob­vi­ously a rea­son why they have with­drawn fund­ing – and I would like an ex­pla­na­tion.’

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 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 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 have been ex­tremely gen­er­ous, it is dis­ap­point­ing the na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion 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 we 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’.

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.

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