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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Letter reveals officers’ anger at Government

27 July 2021

A letter highlighting the anger felt by Police Federation members towards the Government has been sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

National Federation chair John Apter delivered the letter to Downing Street this afternoon.

It follows last week’s Federation National Council meeting which passed a motion of  no confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel and agreed to walk away from the Police Remuneration Review Body which it branded  “not fit for purpose” after a bitterly-opposed pay freeze for officers earning more than £24,000-a-year was confirmed.

Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell said: “This letter expresses the genuine anger of our members who have yet again been so badly let down by the Government.

“Ministers are full of praise for the police and are keen to let everyone know how much they value us. But when it comes down to it, police officers, despite the dedication they show and the sacrifices they make, are just taken for granted. 

“Well, that has to stop and it has to stop right now. And with this message the Police Federation is making it crystal clear that we are no longer going to let our members be treated with such an outrageous lack of respect.”

The letter from the Police Federation reveals the depth of the anger and frustration felt by police officers across the country.

It says: “This is about much more than money, though for many the offer of a zero per cent pay rise, after all the police have been through in helping deal with the pandemic, was the final straw.

“It is about the risks you asked us to take - which we did, because it is our duty - without proper PPE. It is about the endlessly changing and confusing Covid legislation which we were expected to police - which we did, because it is our duty. It is about your mixed messaging and lack of understanding of our role, which combined to put many of our members in invidious positions which led to them being abused and attacked.

“It is about the failure, despite the promises of the Home Secretary, to take seriously our request that police officers should be given early priority for vaccination. It is about the very strong feeling we have, not least when the Prime Minister and Home Secretary spoke at our Annual Conference, that the warm words flow easily, but the actions that show genuine support for the police do not.

“Just this weekend, we found out through a Sunday newspaper column about a new so-called Beating Crime Plan. We don’t need old ideas presented as new, we need genuine investment for the whole of the Criminal Justice System and genuine consultation over new ideas. Without that, this is just another ill-thought-out initiative.

“Police officers are sick of gimmicks. Sick of underfunding. Sick of mixed messaging putting police at risk. Sick of Government contempt for police. It’s time for a total reset of police-Government relations.”

The letter concludes with three demands:

• Stop taking police officers for granted and treat them with respect.

• Agree to work with the Federation on an entirely new and fairer system of remuneration decision-making.

• Reverse the zero per cent pay award decision and give police officers a meaningful pay increase. 

Policing minister Kit Malthouse promised the Government would do “other things” to make police officers feel “valued and supported”.

He told Sky News: “We want to make sure that officers feel valued and rewarded and are supported in doing their job. And while obviously a decision was taken last week around pay which is tough, there are lots of other things about policing which have been good over the last couple of years.

“It has been tough this year. I hope we can return to some kind of normality in the future, but our economy is in some difficulties. Obviously the private sector has taken a big hit and it is the private sector that pays for the public sector, and we have to balance all those things.”

 

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