For whom does the Police Federation speak?

The Police Federation has announced it is cutting all ties with the Police Ombudsman’s office as its campaign against Nuala O’Loan would seem to be intensifying in the aftermath of the publication of the Ballast report. In his statement justifying the development, Federation chairman, Terry Spence, stated, “Her office has managed to give the impression, on the back of a report, that there was widespread collusion among the RUC with the paramilitaries, which is clearly a nonsense but deeply upsetting to RUC officers.”

But who does the Federation represent today? Is it more interested in defending/ excusing the activities of the now defunct Royal Ulster Constabulary, or is it a Federation interested primarily in speaking on behalf of the current membership of the PSNI?

As the number of catholic/ nationalist members of the PSNI grows in the time ahead, it will be interesting to see if the Federation is capable of adapting to represent the views of those with a nationalist outlook and with a less rosy view of the role and legacy of the RUC. This will be one worth watching.

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