Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom has accused the Government of breaking promises made more than a century ago when police officers gave up their right to take industrial action.
Liz warned that politicians who went back on promises that had been made should be held to account and said policing was in crisis with concerns over pay and conditions having a major impact on serving officers and recruitment.
“Most workers can still exercise their right to take industrial action if they feel that they are not being treated fairly by their employers but this is not an option for police officers,” says Liz.
“In an agreement with the government of the day more than 100 years ago, policing gave up industrial rights in a deal through which they were promised they would be treated fairly in return.
“But it would appear the Government is not upholding its end of the deal.
“Police officers have suffered a 20 per cent real-terms pay cut over the last 12 years, including a pay freeze last year when other public sector workers did get a small uplift. Now this, and the cost of living crisis affecting everyone, have created a situation where some officers are experiencing real financial difficulties. We are hearing of officers relying on food banks and others who cannot afford to put fuel in their vehicles.”
In a direct message to the Government, Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) chair Steve Hartshorn asked: “Did our forebears make a mistake in trusting you by giving up our right to strike in 1919 against the promise of fair pay?
“The Government must be reminded of this promise time and time again. Workers in other public sectors are taking industrial action over pay and conditions this summer whilst PFEW members ‘police’ the strikes.
“Our members cannot strike and seem to have no redress to this loss as the law currently prohibits such action by police officers.
“All police officers want is fair pay. A reward that recognises their important place in society, for the dangers they face as they go about their duties fighting and preventing crime, enforcing law and order and protecting the vulnerable, while not having access to employment rights similar to other workers for safeguarding their pay and conditions.”
Steve insisted the responsibility of any Government was the safety and security of its citizens and warned it would struggle to fulfil its obligations when the police faced such huge challenges as a result of broken promises.
He added: “We now have a new Commissioner of Police in the Metropolitan Police Service, a new Policing Minister, a new Chancellor and an experienced Home Secretary, all of whom know how important policing is to everyday life.
“It is time the Government values that importance and realises that people will not forgive broken promises.”