Police set to join London protest
HUNDREDS of Devon and Cornwall Police officers are expected to march through the streets of London as part of a national protest against the Government's "unprecedented attack on policing".
The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, is also to ballot its members on whether or not they should have full industrial rights, including the right to strike. The action follows the publication of the most radical review of police pay and conditions for a generation which was labelled as an "attack on the very bedrock of the office of constable".
Sergeant Nigel Rabbitts, chairman of the federation in Devon and Cornwall, said: "People have sat down and done the maths and realised how the reforms are going to affect them and they are up in arms about it. We are going on the offensive with the ballot, the march and advertising and I think over the summer there will be a variety of different things."
Tom Winsor, who led the 18-month review, made more than 100 recommendations in a report which stretched to more than 1,000 pages. He proposed an end of the "job for life" with the ban on chief constables making officers redundant being lifted in the face of budget cuts. Fitness, qualifications, skills and experience on the front line should all be recognised in future, with exceptional business leaders and members of the military given the chance to fast-track their way into senior roles, the report said.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Sgt Rabbitts said that could amount to a pay cut of around £6,000 for some officers, on top the current pay freeze and an increase in pension contributions. Anger over possible losses in pay, he said, had been compounded by the cuts in officer numbers being made by Devon and Cornwall Police to meet budget cuts of almost £50 million by 2015. The force is losing 700 officers from a previous strength of 3,500 and forcing them to retire after 30 years service. Many have seen their jobs change, or been moved to other stations, as the force moved to its new "Blueprint" model to help the force cope with the cuts.
"If we took the vote now I think there would be an overwhelming result in favour of having the right to strike," Sgt Rabbitts said. "Whether we would ever get that is a different matter. People are feeling vulnerable, whether it is on the frontline because there are less of them around, or because they have got less money in their pocket. They feel they are under attack from the political masters."
In January 2008, more than 20,000 police officers marched to Westminster, via the Home Office, following the refusal of the then-Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, corr to honour an arbitration ruling on backdating a pay increase.