A SOUTH Yorkshire Police officer who represents thousands of constables across the country has accused the Government of taking advantage of bobbies by cutting their pay – knowing they are banned from striking.
Julie Nesbitt – who worked for South Yorkshire Police for 23 years before she was elected chairman of a Police Federation committee representing constables – said officers were being unfairly treated by the Government because walk-outs were illegal.
She spoke out on the day the Winsor Review into police pay and conditions was published, which makes suggestions which would leave 40 per cent of police officers worse off.
Ms Nesbitt said proposed changes to terms and conditions come at a time when the country faces losing 10,220 police officers over the next four years.
“The Government sees the police service as a soft target – they know we can’t go on strike and take industrial action,” she said.
“We all understand that the public sector has to make savings and that the police service has to make its share of those but what we don’t believe is that police officers should be taking their share of the cuts and someone else’s too – police officers do a difficult and dangerous job and work unsociable hours, which needs to be recognised.
“According to ACPO figures, England and Wales will lose 10,200 police officers over the next four years. Civilian staff are also going – meaning police officers will have to cover.
“My concern is that a number of police officers will think ‘do I really want to continue in the police service when I am being rewarded badly, my terms and conditions are being eroded and I am being asked to do more for less’.”
She said morale among officers was at rock bottom and officers are going to find themselves more “detached” from the communities they service than ever before.
Ms Nesbitt said police officers feel “despondent” “disillusioned” and “fearful”.