The Police Federation has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak that its members are “sick of being treated with contempt by the Government”.
The warning came in a letter national chair John Apter delivered to Downing Street this afternoon (Tuesday 27 July).
It follows last week’s ederation 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.
Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom said: “Our members have shown tremendous courage and dedication throughout the pandemic, putting their health at risk while continuing to serve their communities in incredibly challenging circumstances.
“It is high time the Government acknowledged the debt of gratitude it owes to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect their communities. Currently they seem to pay us lip service, praising us in public but then not backing those words with actions.
“It is outrageous that officers are being treated with such little respect and hopefully this letter will make the Prime Minister aware of just how angry they are.
“We refuse to accept that the people who make so many sacrifices to keep this country safe are now being treated with such contempt.”
The letter reveals the depth of the anger police officers feel towards the Government.
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 concluded with three demands for the Government:
• 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 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.”