Into the bear pit: May faces her worst day of the year

Theresa May: Facing police criticism over reform and austerity
Theresa May: Facing police criticism over reform and austerity

By Phoebe Cooke

The home secretary will face her biggest public challenge of the year tomorrow when she attends the annual Police Federation conference in Bournemouth, where she is regularly greeted with heckles and boos.

Theresa May will once again present a keynote speech at the conference, alongside policing minister Damian Green and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

The police organisation has typically been decidedly hostile towards the home secretary, after her police reform fell foul of officers' lobby groups.


But newly elected chairman Steve Williams said he hoped last year's performance would not be repeated.

"What happened last year at the conference, the minority by the way, we are still trying to recover from that," he told PoliticsHome.

"We lost a lot of friends, both publically and politically, because of the way that certain people conducted themselves during that session.

"The home secretary does not have to attend conference - she is coming as a guest of the Police Federation and I expect my colleagues to treat whoever is at conference with that respect."

The comments are a far cry from those of William's predecessor, Paul McKeever, who described her as "on the precipice of destroying" the police service.

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