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Around 100 off-duty Cumbrian police officers will join colleagues from the across England and Wales in central London next month to join a mass protest march against the 20% cuts to the policing budget and attacks on police officer pay and pensions.
Police Federation chiefs say feelings are running so high about an “unprecedented” attack on the police service that angry officers from all parts of the Cumbria have volunteered to give up their rest day on May 10 and make the long journey to the streets of the capital.
Cumbria Police Federation Chair Lee Skelton said ““Cumbrian officers will play their part in this march but as always we will not compromise public safety and this march will not affect the police presence in the county; every officer taking part in the march will be doing so in their own time.”
Thousands of officers nationally are expected to march on Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament in a show of opposition to a series of radical reforms being proposed by the Government.
The demonstration will clash with a one-day strike called by public sector
unions over pension changes. Despite this the Police Federation say they will
still go ahead with their march, even though the national day of action could
reduce the numbers of officers able to take part.
“The PCS and Unite union’s scheduled walkout on May 10th will no doubt
impact on the numbers of police officers able to attend. It highlights the
fundamental difference between the Police and other public sector workers.
The Police cannot strike and can be ordered return to duty to cover the
industrial action of others”
“Our officers are angry, upset and frightened for the future – not only for
themselves but for the policing of this country.”
Cumbria hope to have a hundred officers on the march which takes place just
24 hours after the Queen’s Speech is expected to announce a Parliamentary
bill on changes to public sector pensions.
Four days later the Police Federation will hold its annual conference in
Last year Home Secretary Theresa May was met with silence by delegates
when she delivered an uncompromising speech on the future of the police
service. She could face an even rougher ride this year following the publication
last month of the second part of the Winsor Report which suggested a
controversial raft of reforms for the police aimed at saving £2bn, reforms
branded “ill-conceived, ill-considered and made up of previously-rejected
The recommendations include: -
• The new measures include a reduction in starting pay of £4,000 a year
• The reduction in all the maximum pay scales for all federated ranks of
£1212 through the removal of CRTP.
• The creation of a system of compulsory redundancy for officers with less
than full pensionable service
• The reduction in pay of almost £3,000 for officers who become
restricted from performing full duties (including those injured in the
execution of their duty)
Budget cuts of 20 per cent have already meant the loss of 16,000 jobs
Lee Skelton explained: “Winsor has significant implications for policing in
this country. The Office of Constable is under threat. Police officers are
not employees they are Crown Servants, with this comes not insignificant
restrictions on their personal and private lives. Our Police Service is the envy
of the world yet it faces its biggest threat as the proposed reforms will turn
policing from a vocation into just another job.
We are already seeing the principles of our service being undermined. The
political independence of the office of Chief Constable is already threatened by
the election of Police and Crime Commissioners in November”
“Sadly the Home Secretary isn’t listening to us. Police Officers have no option
but to demonstrate to the country how angry we feel.