Up to 30,000 rank and file police officers dismayed at cuts to the police service and proposed changes to their pay and conditions marched in London on Thursday.
The demonstration was the strongest show of defiance available to members of the Police Federation and comes as the call from some officers for full industrial rights grows.
Whether their action will change anything is unclear. But with a £500 million shortfall in the 20 percent cuts required by forces still to be found, the squeeze on the service in England and Wales is only going to get tighter.
Under the current regime of cut backs, and then further cut backs, from the Tory-led Coalition Government, I have to put the blame for the crisis of morale among police officers entirely at the feet of the Coalition Government.
The Coalition have made cut backs too fast and too deep. Since this Tory-led coalition came to power 5,000 Police officers have already been removed from service. Ironically this is happening at a time when the British Crime Survey reported the biggest rise in personal crime in a decade and when the UK faces its largest peacetime security operation in recent history with the Olympics.
And to compound our misery still further more cuts are on their way:
– 20% cut to the Police Force Budget leading to a loss of 16,000 Police Officers by 2015
– ASBOs are to be scrapped (Lancashire has issued more than 750 since their introduction in 1999)
– The definition of domestic violence for legal aid is to be narrowed
– Over 6,000 staff are to be cut from the UK Border Agency
Compare this to when Labour left office in May 2010.
• There were a record numbers of police officers on the street, with over 16,500 more than in 1997
• In addition there were over 16,000 new Police Community Support Officers
• Crime fell by 43%: the chance of being a victim was at the lowest since records began.
Labour’s record on Law & Order was exemplary compared to the current government’s appalling record.
As someone who has been actively involved in making Lancashire one of the UK’s best-ranked constabularies, I want to stop this erosion of services and the undermining of the safety and security of the good people of Lancashire. I want to make the streets of our neighbourhoods that much safer again. Listed on my website www.imaster.org.uk is my eleven-point manifesto to help safeguard the safety and security of the people of Lancashire, please visit the site.
Member of the Lancashire Police Authority and one of Labour’s shortlisted candidates for Lancashire’s Police & Crime Commissioner.
On 15 November 2012, for the first time ever, the public across England and Wales will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force areas. The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account – effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.