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Labour MP Keith Vaz On Police 'Crisis' Caused By Plebgate, Hillsborough And Home Office Reform

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The force is suffering a crisis, Vaz has said
The force is suffering a crisis, Vaz has said

The police is suffering a crisis and public confidence as well as officers' morale is at an all time low, Labour MP Keith Vaz has warned.

Recent controversies revealed by the Hillsborough report and Andrew Mitchell's 'plebgate' has combined with police cuts to create a 'dangerous cocktail', the Chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has written in the Sunday Express.

Reforms have been managed badly, Vaz argued, saying that the police feel they lack government support. On Sunday the government released new figures showing a dramatic fall in crime over the last two year despite police cuts, a move The Sunday Times describes as "reigniting its war of words with the Police Federation."

Calling on David Cameron to host annual summits with senior officers, he urged "a new Magna Carta" for policing.

Vaz, who will chair his committee's inquiry into police accountability, integrity, internal corruption and malpractice next month and said it is a "defining moment" for the service.

police

The police force is suffering a crisis, Keith Vaz has said

He said plebgate could have been a 'Christmas special' and added: "The chief whip had to resign following a 60-second 'incident' in, of all places, Downing Street.

"Take a police officer apparently masquerading as a member of the public, a confidential log book finding its way into the public domain, add the results of the Hillsborough Inquiry, which have resulted in thousands of serving and former police officers being investigated, and the fact that 26 out of the 43 police forces do not have a permanent chief constable, and you have a dangerous cocktail."

Though he said he agreed with police reform, he criticised Theresa May for attempting to make such "radical changes" whilst also altering police officers' pay and conditions.

"One of the first rules of management is to ensure that during a period of radical change you carry your workforce with you. Unfortunately this has not happened," he wrote.

"With these profound changes taking place the last thing you should do is start to alter the pay and conditions of those who will implement the reforms without entering into a proper dialogue with them.

"The government was wrong to change police pension arrangements retrospectively. It was unfair and forced out a number of experienced officers," he added.

Vaz's comments came as an investigation by the Mail on Sunday revealed more than 23,000 police officers and staff are moonlighting in second jobs, with the figure soaring nearly 20% in a year.

The figures mean more than one in 10 officers in England and Wales earn a second income from non-police work.

At the same time, the number of investigations into potential rule breaches has tripled, raising questions over conflicts of interest arising from second jobs.