Tributes to Police Federation chief
The head of a national police group who died suddenly has been remembered for his "tireless" work for officers during one of the most turbulent times in the force's history.
Chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales Paul McKeever, 57, died last night after suffering a suspected embolism.
Tributes were paid by a string of policing colleagues and Home Secretary Theresa May, with whom Mr McKeever had heated clashes.
Chairman-elect of the Police Federation Steve Williams said: "He was a truly outstanding chairman, and most importantly a truly outstanding police officer and man. A true gentleman, his leadership and reputation will be remembered highly by all those who knew him."
Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) president Sir Hugh Orde said: "The sad news of Paul McKeever's death has come as a shock to the policing family.
"Paul and I served together as Pcs in London. Paul worked tirelessly in his role as Police Federation chairman and was a passionate advocate and voice for public safety and the rank and file."
Mrs May said: "I was deeply saddened to hear the news today of Paul McKeever's death. He gave more than 35 years of his life to the police in a long and distinguished career, including risking his own personal safety at the frontline in the Brixton riots. As chairman of the Police Federation, he worked tirelessly on behalf of rank and file officers across the country and I know they will join with me in mourning his loss today."
Mr McKeever, who was married with one daughter, was just two weeks away from retirement, having announced his departure last summer. At the time he said: "I cannot stay within a service that is having the Office of Constable attacked, police officers denigrated and public safety put at risk."
He had also accused Mrs May of being "on the precipice of destroying a police service that is admired and replicated throughout the world".
The son of the late Pc David Rathband, who was shot and blinded by gun maniac Raoul Moat while on duty, also paid tribute. Ash Rathband said he was "completely shocked" at the loss of a "genuinely lovely man".