By David Harney
First posted on THE 67 MISSING PAGES!
Tens of thousands of off duty Police Officers marched in protest at Government imposed cuts of 20%, causing the loss of 16,000 Officers. In addition, Government plans mass privatization of British policing.
Tens of thousands of rank and file police officers marched in London on Thursday the 10th of May, in a protest at the vicious cuts and mass “privatisation” of the police service.
The demonstration was the strongest show of defiance available to members of the Police Federation and comes as the call, from some officers, for full industrial rights grows. A fast increasing number of officers believe that if they are to lose the job protection they have always had as Crown servants, then they need real industrial muscle to defend their jobs and their working conditions.
The sight of tens of thousands of cops taking to the streets is without doubt, a rare sight indeed, and the presence in their midst of a Chief Constable, Tony Melville, even more so. It is a measure of their anger, that police officers, many conservatives by nature, simply feel they have been pushed beyond the limits of patience.
Whether their action will change anything is unclear. But with a £500 million shortfall in the 20% cuts required by forces still to be filled, the squeeze on the service in England and Wales is only getting tighter, making helping to keep our streets a safer place, ever more impossible. The damaging effect this is causing upon serving officers’ moral, is both damaging, and often immeasurable.
The off duty marchers wore 16,000 black caps to show the number of officers the public will lose over the next four years and marched in silence past the memorial to fallen officers on The Mall.
The last time police officers marched was 2008. This time the federation has been able to spread the word via the social networking site Twitter, spreading the word to thousands of concerned officers nationwide.
Sadly, it would appear, that this Government is intent on privatizing our police service, in a fashion that would see the vast majority of police stations run by private security firms such as G4S, MITIE, along with others who intend to bid at the cheapest price. Intent upon giving private Security Officers, the powers to assist in recording crime, responding to ASB, and many other duties currently being undertaken by highly trained, Police Officers, & Police Community Support Officers. All this, I hasten to add, under the insulting guise of `reform`. `Reform` that is, in reality, a devastating cost cutting policy, that will leave our police service weakened, and far less equipped to do the very job it was originally intended to do, on its conception in 1838.
I can certainly vouch for the fact that near 99% of all front-line police officers, are fiercely dedicated to the public and to the jobs they do, often with little regard to their own safety. However, the Government should heed the fact, that even workers as dedicated as this, have their tipping point!
Thanks for reading…