Police union in £1m ‘betrayal’ of fallen officers
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 There is obviously a reason why they have withdrawn funding – and I would like an explanation.’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.