HUNDREDS of disgruntled bobbies were set to march in London today to say ‘enough is enough’ in protest at Government funding cuts.
Around 250 off-duty police officers from South Yorkshire were due to take part in the march organised by the Police Federation to highlight concerns about the potential consequences of 20 per cent cuts to police force budgets across the county, which will see South Yorkshire lose around £40 million.
The Police Federation, which represents the interests of rank and file bobbies, says policing has suffered a ‘disproportionate attack’ and bobbies are ‘extremely angry’ at their treatment by the Government, fearing the service they will be able to provide the public in the future will suffer.
Neil Bowles, chairman of the South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “The reality of the cuts to policing is really beginning to bite. In the past year alone we have lost over 135 police officers and a larger number of our police staff colleagues.
“We are witnessing the privatisation of core policing roles as chief officers struggle to cope with budget restraints.
“The Government needs to honour its first duty – protecting its citizens. It needs to be realistic about the outcome of severe cuts to policing – we cannot afford to compromise on public safety.”
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies estimates the police service will lose over 16,000 officers over the next four years.
Bobbies are facing a two-year public sector pay freeze and increased pension contributions – affecting their take-home pay.
Officers from all 43 forces in England and Wales were due to take part in today’s walk, starting at Millbank and passing the Home Office, Parliament Square, Whitehall and Trafalgar Square and before ending at Waterloo Place.
Police officers are prevented by law from striking.
Their last mass march was in 2008 when they accused the-then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, of ‘reneging’ on a pay deal.