As published in the Daily Mail:
Widow’s fury over the police union chiefs who used limo at memorial: Officials ‘paid for boozy parties with credit card’
• PC Kate Parker said antics of Police Federation officials upset families
• Mother-of-two’s husband Andy died while on duty in 2005
• Officer’s allegations about ‘drunken excess’ piles pressure on federation
• Photograph of two officers in back of limo was posted on Facebook
A widow yesterday accused police union officials of using corporate credit cards to party drunkenly at a memorial day for fallen officers.
Mother-of-two PC Kate Parker, whose policeman husband Andy died while on duty in 2005, said the boozy antics of Police Federation officials upset bereaved families every year.
The serving officer’s allegations about ‘drunken excess’ at the National Police Memorial Day (NPMD) piled pressure on the federation, the staff association which represents 131,000 rank-and-file officers in England and Wales.
She spoke out after it emerged that a whistleblower had been sacked after challenging the rampant spending culture within the Federation.
Fiona McElroy claims she was booted out after asking ‘difficult questions’ over ‘acts of bullying, inappropriate behaviours and attitudes’. The claims made by PC Parker, who is based in North Wales, will be of particular concern to Federation officials.
She said on Twitter: ‘Every year the reps at NPMD upset grieving families with their drunken antics late into the night and they treat it like a holiday.
‘Every year at NPMD families are upset at Fed treating it like a drunken jolly, getting drunk on Fed credit cards. Their drunken excess upsets families every year, hangovers at the service. It’s a memorial not a party.’
She added that it was worth ‘noting some bereaved families can’t afford to get themselves to NPMD this year. How many Fed will go?’ PC Parker also commented on federation officials using a stretch limousine to ferry them around Cardiff at the memorial day last September.
A photograph of two officers in the back of the vehicle was posted by Paul Davis, a member of the Federation’s constables’ central committee.
The image shows Jayne Willetts, a member of the same committee, and Mr Davis’s wife, former England netballer Alex Wood-Davis, a police officer – but not a current Police Federation official – in Northamptonshire. Writing alongside the image on Facebook, Mr Davis said: ‘OMG! Taxi back to the hotel! – with Alex Wood-Davis.’
Another senior Police Federation member, PC Fiona Douglas-Mullett, commented: ‘Wish I’d been able to come out now!’
PC Parker, whose husband Andy died in a traffic accident, was less impressed. She tweeted: ‘What an insult to my family. Disgusted.’
Federation sources said the use of the stretch limousine Humvee had been impromptu and had not been paid for by members’ money. One said: ‘One of the party was on crutches at the time and she could not get a taxi – a limousine driver kindly offered to take them to their destination.’
Last night a Federation spokesman said: ‘We are not aware of any direct complaints about alleged inappropriate behaviour at National Police Memorial Day, which is an extremely sombre and poignant occasion, and refute any such allegations. Any complaints of this nature would be taken extremely seriously.’
Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis yesterday stepped up his calls for transparency in the Federation.
He said: ‘There have been lurid accusations circulating about the Police Federation for some months now. Allegations include massive misuse of members subscription funds, including enormous expenditure on bar bills, nightclubs and worse.
There are also clear questions, even raised by the tax authorities, about the use of grace-and-favour apartments and other subsidised food and drink.
‘It now seems that there is a least some substance to these allegations. To establish the facts, the Federation should immediately publish the expense accounts and receipts for the national officers for the last five years. They should do this by Wednesday before the Commons debate on the future reform of the Federation.’
Federation chairman Steve Williams said: ‘We are committed to reform and we must now be allowed to complete the job that we ourselves started.’