Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says years of cuts have undermined policing as she called for greater investment and a fair pay award.
Liz said that the cuts during the years of austerity, the lack of a long-term funding strategy and poor pay had done more than anything to damage policing.
She was responding to a speech from Suella Braverman in which the Home Secretary said political correctness was hampering police and that officers should concentrate on “common sense policing”.
Ms Braverman, who was speaking at the Public Safety Foundation think tank, said: “Common sense policing means more police on our streets.
“It means better police culture and higher standards.
“It means giving the public confidence that the police are unequivocally on their side, not pandering to politically correct preoccupations.
“It means measuring the police on outputs such as public response times, crimes solved, and criminals captured.
“It means police officers freed up to spend their time on proper police work.
“It means police prioritising the highest harm crimes and those that matter most to the public.
“It means the police making use of powers like stop and search that have proven effective in taking weapons off our streets.
“And above all else, common sense policing means officers maintaining a relentless focus on fighting crime, catching criminals, and keeping the public safe.”
Ms Braverman added: “Now I believe in the police. But the policing in which I believe isn’t riven with political correctness, but enshrined in good old fashioned common sense.
“The perception – however unjustified or unrepresentative – that some police are more interested in virtue signalling, or in protecting the interests of a radical minority engaged in criminality, than they are protecting the rights of the law-abiding majority – is utterly corrosive to public confidence in policing. The police must be more sensitive to this and work harder to counter it.
“If police chiefs approached instilling a culture of political impartiality, with the same dedication which they approach instilling a culture of diversity and inclusion, I have no doubt that public confidence in policing would be materially improved.”
Liz described the comments as an attempt to divert attention from the main issues facing policing of funding and pay.
She said: “Of course most officers enter policing to fight crime, catch criminals and keep the public safe.
“However, for the Home Secretary to again use hard-working and dedicated officers to stoke her culture wars is unhelpful and divisive and is being used to draw attention away from years of underfunding and poor pay.
“It’s the cuts to police numbers during the austerity years, real-term cuts to pay and the savaging of infrastructure that have done more damage to policing and police morale than anything else.
“This is why, as a Federation, we’ve been calling for a minimum 17 per cent pay rise for our members whose wages have slumped since 2000 to start to reverse the decline.”