Emails expose row between Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner and Police Federation over cuts campaign

Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Simon Hayes, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Solent News and Picture Agency

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  • Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes says he was misrepresented in the campaign
  • He wrote to Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter saying cuts campaign was ‘ill-advised’ and harming force
  • Mr Hayes accidentally sent email to wrong person ordering ‘frosty’ response
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AN ARGUMENT over a Police Federation campaign has been exposed after emails between top officials were released.

Simon Hayes, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, blasted the Cuts Have Consequences campaign in a series of emails to John Apter.

John Apter from the Police Federation

John Apter from the Police Federation

Mr Apter is the chairman of Hampshire Police Federation and represents rank-and-file officers at the force.

The emails, published under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal Mr Hayes feels he was misrepresented by the campaign.

In one, dated March 17, Mr Hayes wrote: ‘I have to say that I think your campaign is ill-advised in its timing and proving damaging to public confidence in Hampshire Constabulary’s ability to protect our communities.

‘Not, I’m sure, an intended consequence.

I fully accept in my role and the role of the Police Federation sometimes I will frustrate the senior management or the police and crime commissioner. I stand by that campaign

John Apter

‘I’ve resisted writing to you in this vein until now, because I respect the Fed needs a voice, so have accepted the sensationalist tone of the campaign.’

He added: ‘I fail to understand how the campaign is achieving any purpose at all.’

Mr Hayes told The News he sent the messages when posts on social media claimed he was ‘excited’ about police closures and that the federation was the only group fighting Home Office cuts.

He added: ‘We have a good relationship and we have met subsequently and moved on. This is not a long-lasting rift.’

And he said he wrote nothing in the emails that he would not say publicly.

The campaign, launched by the federation over heavy cuts to Hampshire Constabulary, started in March this year.

Since 2010, the force has lost more than 600 police officers and there are fears that it could lose another 400.

The force is undergoing £80m cuts by April 2017.

In the emails Mr Hayes said the campaign ‘reinforces’ fear and it ‘encourages the common misunderstanding that there is no point in reporting criminality because nothing will or can be done’.

In one exchange Mr Hayes accidentally emailed Mr Apter instead of his PA, writing that he was refusing to attend a conference.

The message said: ‘I’m not happy with the Fed at the moment so a frosty response is fine.’

Speaking to The News, Mr Apter said: ‘I fully accept in my role and the role of the Police Federation sometimes I will frustrate the senior management or the police and crime commissioner. I stand by that campaign.’