Should police officers have the right to strike? That is a question now on the lips of most police officers and members of the public.
The Police Federation which represents police officers in England and Wales was set up in 1919 as part of the Police Act which ruled that police officers couldn't strike but instead they would be represented by the Federation.
The Police Federation has voted to ballot members on whether they as police officers should be allowed to strike. It is worth remembering that even if police officers do vote to strike it is likely it would be blocked by Parliament as it would require a change in the law.
As somebody who has studied Policing, Investigation and Criminology and who regularly speaks to police officers of all ranks, I think I am in a good position to write this particular blog.
As a result of the police 'reforms' and the Tom Winsor reports, one cannot help but wonder that almost 100 years on there should be a change in legislation to allow officers the right to strike and to give them full industrial rights. The fundamental principles of modern British policing are being destroyed by the current Conservative led government, ironically it was a Conservative Home Secretary and latterly the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel who came up with the idea of policing. Peel's principles of policing are fundamental to how policing in Britain operates today. One of the most important principles is to police by consent, which in my opinion the trials by Surrey and West Midlands Police to allow private security companies to take over more and more parts of the police go against.
We simply cannot stand back and allow the government to destroy the police service. Morale amongst police officers is incredibly low as 20% cuts and private policing is introduced. Those who follow news and current affairs will know that the NHS Bill was passed the other day; we have got to put up much more of a fight to protect our police.
As much as I agree with the idea and workings of the Police Federation (and I have a lot of Federation friends!), this seems to be the only way of pleading with the government to re-think these terrible proposals and reject Winsor. I am not political when it comes to policing, I am incredibly impartial on this area of policy and I hope for the sake of police officers up and down this country, and for the public that Theresa May goes back to the drawing board and listens to police officers.
In a speech to the Police Service in 2010, Theresa May said "I will always back you, I will always support you, I will always fight for you." It is now time to stand by that promise to police officers.
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