We have now seen the first part of the Review of Police officers and staff Remuneration and Conditions report from Tom Winsor.
The report commissioned by the new coalition government has addressed so called 'perks' given to police officers and police staff.
Recent days and weeks have seen a campaign of spin, probably originating from Whitehall, aimed at draining public support for their police service. Yesterday saw a failed, sorry I mean 'Chief' Officer outlining how officers working on weekend get extra pay and that this should be cut.
As a Police Officer of 13 years myself, I would like to know which forces do pay their Officers extra for working on weekends because I in that time have received not a penny in extra allowances or 'perks' for working on weekends. So, I would like a transfer please.
We have heard time and time again during these episodes of 'spin' that the police are not a special case and should be dealt with in line with all other public sector workers. Tell me this, which other public sector workers routinely put themselves in harm's way on a daily basis? Which other group are called to deal with the most depraved and anti social of our communities? Which other group must routinely stand in a Crown Court and justify their actions in front of a judge and jury and constantly perform their duties with the cloud of discipline and/or prosecution hanging over them every minute of the day for mistakes or errors? Which other Public sector group will stand and defend the government (the very same government who seek to impose these cuts) during the inevitable demonstrations which will spring up when others of the public sector groups receive their cuts? Who will you call when you are assaulted or your house gets burgled or even when your neighbour plays their music too loudly?
Whilst you will be able to identify certain groups that perform one or perhaps two of the above actions, only one group performs them all: the police. The government and, in particular home secretary Theresa May, might wish to consider this when wielding their axe.
When she is being escorted home tonight by her armed police officer guards, who's pay and conditions she is seeking to cut, she might see fit to ponder who will be protecting her when those officers lose their jobs.
Yes, that's right. Front line Police Officer's jobs are going. Don't listen to the political dross spouting from politicians mouth in that front line jobs will not be affected. They are, every day!
The Tax Payers Alliance has recently identified that 700 of the 7,000 police officers in Wales are on 'restricted duties' i.e. unable to perform front line tasks. Even in the face of these figures, fully fit front line officers are losing their jobs through a clandestine police regulation called 'A19'. Not only are these officers fully fit they are the most experienced ones. Surely the 700 restricted duties officer's positions should be more precarious than the fully fit ones?
Next on the list of sticks with which to thrash the police is that of their pensions. Again the campaign of 'spin' outlines how much the police receive from their retirement. Please let me clarify this. Serving police officers pay for the pensions of retired ones. It does not come out of government funds. The police pay 11% of their pay into those pensions which is far greater than any-one else in the Public sector, 6% being the nearest.
Again the government has issued the threat that police pensions will be slashed. But in the process they totally neglect to mention the vast difference in the amounts that are paid in by officers.
I listened last week to the home secretary informing the nation that the police cannot strike and that she believed that very few officers would do so even if they could. On this point I strongly believe that Mrs May has underestimated the feelings of hatred that the police service now has for this government, which is in the process of betraying them so badly.
Can you just imagine what would happen if the Police went on strike for just one hour? Businesses would have to shut up for fear of crime. Schools would have to close. Road accidents would go unattended as would all other crimes. The country would grind to a halt, the effects of which would cost millions and take far longer than 1 hour to recover from.
No appetite to strike on the part of the Police? Nonsense, I would estimate that 80 -90% of officers would go out on strike. Perhaps the next time we see thousands of officers marching through Whitehall, the banner at the front of the march will read 'We Want the Right to STRIKE'.
Only a foolish government believes that it does not need the support of its police service, a government without the support of its police will undoubtedly fail.
This is the situation that our government finds itself in at the moment. As the Police Federation has already said following the publication of Tom Winsor's report:
'WE ARE AT WAR'.