"I’m afraid a 'thank you' doesn’t quite cut it"
16 August 2018
Chair John Apter
Chair John Apter reflects on the suspected terrorist attack in Westminster and urges goverment to wake up and invest in policing.
In a statement he said: “What disappoints me is that in times of crisis, such as what happened in Westminster on Tuesday morning, the government are first to celebrate how brilliant our police officers are.
“But then when it comes to important issues around remuneration, the lack of resilience and the increased demand our colleagues are facing, those who have the power to do something about the crisis in policing simply turn a blind eye.
“The level of extreme terrorism that we are facing in the UK cannot be underestimated and if the threat from terrorism isn’t enough for the government to wake up and invest adequately in our police service than I don’t know what is.
“Our officers are out their risking their lives day in day out to protect the public and the very least they deserve is to be supported for the extremely dangerous and demanding job they do.
“I’m afraid a ‘thank you’ doesn’t quite cut it.
“Today we have heard that the Home Secretary urged the Prime Minister to honour the Independent pay body recommendation, this was ignored. It is no wonder many police officers feel the contempt the Prime Minister has for policing and for those who deliver it is very personal.
“The demand on the police service has never been higher and our police officers are undervalued and overworked. Findings from our 2016 Demand, Capacity and Welfare survey show that 66 per cent of officers indicated that their workload was too high and 80 per cent of officers said they have suffered from stress, low mood and anxiety – 92 per cent of which said their psychological difficulties had been caused or made worse by work.
“Is this evidence not enough of a wakeup call that the government need to invest more in the police service and put measures in place to protect the people who protect us?
"Since 2010 we have lost more than 22,000 officers with 80 per cent of those having been taken from the frontline – this includes 3,500 neighbourhood officers who are the eyes and ears of our communities and vital in detecting and preventing serious crime including terrorism.
“My thoughts very much remain with those injured on Tuesday and their families – I hope they make a full and speedy recovery. And I commend our incredible police officers who despite all this continue to run towards danger and put their lives on the line to protect us – all we ask is that they are recognised, supported and adequately remunerated for doing so.”