Sir Ian Blair Supports Police Pay Demands
UPDATE December 21, 2007: Britain’s most senior Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair has come out in support for the Police in the dispute over pay rises. ....
The home secretary has made a "mistake" in refusing to meet police pay demands, but should not resign, the Metropolitan Police commissioner has told the BBC.
Sir Ian Blair said he did not understand why the government had "picked a fight" over the issue, but officers would not strike.
On Friday, it emerged that the chief constables of Essex and Cambridgeshire have refused to pass on Mrs Smith's Christmas message to their officers in protest at the pay wrangle.
In a wide-ranging interview on BBC Radio Four's Today programme, Sir Ian said he was "very disappointed" at the government's decision.
"I disassociate myself from requests for the home secretary to resign - I think she's a very good home secretary - but I think this is a mistake," he said.
"I told her that, I told her predecessor that, and the reason it's a mistake is because not enough notice has been taken of the special nature of policing in the sense that police officers don't have the right to strike."
He said ministers must now negotiate with the Police Federation over other ways of improving pay structures.
For example, he said, "the only way to get a pay rise is to be promoted, whereas in teaching you can stay in a classroom and get paid more and more".
He added: "I don't understand why this particular fight has been picked.
"[But] I don't believe that my officers will go on strike. The professionalism of my officers and officers all over the UK is such that it will not happen.".
Sir Ian said that despite the growing threat of terrorism, crime in general in London was falling.
There were 157,000 fewer crimes this year than three years ago, 21,000 fewer victims of violent crime and a drop in knife crime of 16%, he said.
And he claimed London was experiencing a crime "miracle" similar to that in New York in the 1990s when the murder rate fell by 54.5%.
"The New York miracle is actually now being mirrored here, but nobody is actually commenting."...........
Two police chiefs have refused to publish the home secretary's Christmas message because of the dispute over officers' pay.
A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said: "We received an eight-paragraph letter sent to all forces thanking them for their work in 2007, praising them for their bravery and dedication, and wishing them a Happy Christmas.
"The letter arrived two days after the news of a pay dispute emerged.
"Normally, the letter would be published on our force website, but the chief constable felt it would be inappropriate to do that this year."
Mr Baker said: "I will be writing to the Home Secretary to express my views on the matter." ..........
UPDATE December 19, 2007: Mounting pressure is being plied on the Government to rethink it's 1.9% pay offer to the Police force with further stories of disgruntled officers and falling Police moral. A brave Policewoman had something special to say...
A policewoman who was gunned down in the line of duty has accused the Government of showing a "lack of respect" to officers over the police force pay dispute.
A critical email from Pc Rachael Bown was heard in evidence today by the Home Affairs Committee.
Pc Bown was honoured for her bravery after she was shot by Trevon Thomas as she tried to arrest him in a street in Nottingham in February last year.
She returned to duty in March but suffers from panic attacks and nightmares.
Illegal immigrant Thomas, 24, of Bilborough, Nottingham, was jailed for 30 years last December for her attempted murder.
Pc Bown wrote: "I would ask that the Government recognise the personal sacrifice made by officers and their families.
"By awarding the full pay rise as agreed, they will show their support for the police. They need to lead by example.
"As is shown in my case, there is a lack of respect for the police in this country; the Government are leading this lack of respect.''
"As a young-in-service officer I am low down on the pay scales and any cut in wages will have a massive impact on me due to inflation."
Anger among officers grew yesterday when police staff, custody officers and forensic science technicians, were awarded the full 2.5 per cent pay rise by the Home Office.
Jan Berry, chairwoman of the Police Federation, told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee that the award to police staff would “do nothing to suppress the anger and discontent of police officers who have been betrayed by this Government”.
An e-mail from PC Bown was read to the MPs by her boss, Steve Green, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire. Mr Green said that she was one of more than 400 officers who had e-mailed him after he told them he would be speaking to the committee....….
Cumbria chief constable has refused to pass on to officers a Christmas message from the Home Secretary – due to government refusal to backdate police pay.
Craig Mackey, the county’s most senior officer, decided not to circulate the festive words from Jacqui Smith because it was felt they could “negatively affect morale”...........
Update December 13, 2007: The Metropolitan police federation say the Police are 'at war' with the Government over the way their pay increase has been effectively reduced.
The largest police federation in the UK has declared that its officers are now "at war" with the Government over a pay dispute.
The Metropolitan Police Federation today accused ministers of attempting to "trample on the well-being" of rank-and-file police officers, and attacked the Metropolitan Police Authority for its "shameful silence" over the dispute.
It follows an unprecedented call for Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, to resign over her refusal to fulfil a promise to backdate a pay rise.
In a statement today, Peter Smyth, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: "The Government's attempt to trample on police officers' well-being by shredding a long standing, fair and effective mechanism for deciding pay has goaded officers into doing the previously unthinkable - contemplating seeking the right to take industrial action."............
Northamptonshire Police join the rest of the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland Police forces in demanding the right to strike. The situation has been brought about by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's decision not to back pay this year’s pay rise from September. This effectively reduces the pay increase from 2.5% to 1.9%.
Frontline police officers in Northamptonshire are to be balloted over whether they want to campaign for the right to take strike action.
The Police Federation, a body representing all officers up to the level of chief inspector, called for the vote at an emergency meeting held today to discuss a Government pay dispute.
Police are prevented by law from taking industrial action but the ballot could eventually lead to the restoration of officers' rights to go on strike.
Federation members have also demanded the resignation of Jacqui Smith - Home Secretary over her decision not to backdate a proposed 2.5 per cent pay rise for officers.
Northamptonshire Police Federation chairman Danny Kelk, who represents 1,300 county officers, said: "I never considered I would have to say something like this but we are fed up of being messed around and betrayed by the Home Office.
"Teachers, firefighters and health service workers all have the right to strike and what they have achieved as a result are reasonable pay increases above the rate of inflation.
"In comparison, police officers are experiencing a gradual erosion of pay and that is because we don't have the same rights as everyone else.
Some 78 MPs have signed a motion tabled by the home affairs select committee chair, Keith Vaz, urging a rethink.
Police leaders attended the Police Federation crisis summit to discuss their next move, and to seek legal advice over possible industrial action.
If the 2.5% pay rise is not backdated to September, then an entry level police constable stands to lose £131, and a sergeant would lose £206.
Ms Smith is determined that the current pay deal should fall within public sector inflation targets, but she did not believe most officers wanted the right to strike.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown told MPs the government had to ensure that pay settlements were affordable and consistent with wider pay policy.
"I would like more than anybody to be able to say to the police that we could pay their wages and their salary rise in full.
"But I have to say to them that no policeman and no person would thank us if their pay rise was wiped out by inflation," he said............
The row has been further fuelled by the decision to allow Scotland to backdate the pay rise for its officers............