Leicestershire  Police Federation

Scaremongering? I think not…

11 May 2018

Almost three years ago, a stern-faced Theresa May stood up at our annual conference and told delegates the Police Federation should stop ‘crying wolf’ about the impact of budget cuts and accused its leaders of ‘scaremongering’.

The then Home Secretary was responding to a keynote speech by the national Federation chair in which he said the bobby on the beat was becoming an endangered species and neighbourhood policing was under serious threat.

Time, I would argue, has proven the Federation was not crying wolf or scaremongering. As the number of officers has fallen as a direct result of funding cuts, we have seen the terrible consequences of the Government’s insistence that we can do more with less.

A surge in violent crime is just one example, and there are so many others we could cite. The public we serve are paying a very heavy price for the Government’s stance and officers are also suffering with the pressure leading more and more to report signs of stress and ill-health.

A few weeks ago, a Freedom of Information request revealed the number of rest days owed to officers. But there is also a growing problem with Force budgets being over-spent due to officers’ over-time claims.

Is it any wonder? The numbers we once had here in Leicestershire alone have dropped by 500 officers. Demand has not declined to match this huge decrease in people and yet we are being expected to be able to respond in the same way as we did before.

We are the service that never says no but how on earth can we, with fewer officers, continue to provide the service that is expected by the public, our senior officers and those who monitor our performance?

So, as we approach this year’s national Federation conference, I hope that the new Home Secretary attends and listens to what the Police Federation and its members have to say. 

We are the experts in policing. We know there is a crisis in policing and we also know what is needed to address that crisis: a re-investment in policing.

What we now need to know is whether Sajid Javid is prepared to not just listen but also act.

 

If he does address delegates, we will be very interested to hear his views and his vision for policing. But we need more than just words.

We will, of course, keep you fully updated on all the developments at conference so please take the time to visit this website and check our news items.

 

  • Conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham on 22 and 23 May 2018. A special edition of our Upbeat magazine will be published as soon as possible after conference.

Diary

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