Government ‘must listen to policing professionals’

20 May 2015

 The Police Federation has responded to criticisms aired by Home Secretary Theresa May in her keynote speech to the organisation’s annual conference in Bournemouth today, detailed below.

Home Secretary: ‘Paramilitary style policing/neighbourhood police officers are an “endangered species”. Claims of scaremongering and of officers being demoralised; this crying ‘wolf’ has to stop.

Police Federation: Steve White, chairman, said in his keynote speech not to dismiss us as scaremongering. The reason that the things we said haven’t happened is nothing to do with Government policy. It is about the fact officers have made it work, officers have worked hard and we officers are ‘can-do’ people.  Despite all of the cuts and change, officers responded and have kept the public safe. This isn’t about scaremongering or crying wolf.

This is us telling it like it is.

We are saying the same things because the Home Secretary is not listening to the professionals who know about policing.

HS: If we had not reformed police pay and pensions, chief constables would have had little choice but to cut more police officers and staff.
PF: As Steve White said in his speech – it is nothing short of blackmail to say that officers have to take a pay cut or more of their colleagues will have to go.

HS: Bringing forward proposals to make the Police Federation subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
PF: We have nothing to hide but would question government enforcing such laws on a private staff association

HS: Police reform is working. By cutting bureaucracy and central targets, we have saved up to 4.5 million police hours – the equivalent of 2,100 full-time officers.
PF: The only reason is because officers have made it work. They – not government – make it work. And it is the public that suffer as a result.

HS: It is perfectly possible to make savings without affecting the quality of neighbourhood policing.
PF: Totally and utterly disagree. This is not what our poll this week, which demonstrated that 33 out of 43 forces have scrapped, merged or reduced their neighbourhood policing teams, has found and it is not the experience of those officers who have stood up and shared their experiences at conference today.

HS: Measures to reduce the amount of time the police spend dealing with people suffering from mental health issues
PF: We welcome anything to support dealing with those with mental health issues in a proper way and not in police stations
HS: Performance targets putting pressure on officers to misrecord crime.
PF: Our federated officers should never be put under pressure to misrecord crime.
HS: If the Federation comes to me with serious proposals to help change policing for the better, then I will listen. So the choice is yours and it is clear. You can choose protest, and continue to shout angrily from the sidelines for the next five years. Or you can choose partnership, and work with me to change policing for the better.
PF: We have never been an obstacle to change. We have actively sought change. But change that is considered. Change that is long term. And change that is for the good of policing and the public we serve. Our voice must be heard but we will never shy away from speaking up and speaking out.