A serving officer has sent the following. You can click on the link to read the original but I have reproduced it in full below:
“The link is to a letter written to the Policing Minister from a DC in Merseyside. It probably sums up the current situation in the most balanced way possible. Enjoy !!
It’s quite lengthy so make sure you give yourself a few mins!!! Please take time to read as it will help you create an informed opinion of how the proposed changes may affect serving officers and also how others line their own pockets at your expense.”
Dear Mr Herbert. MP.
I am a serving police officer with over twenty eight years service. I have served over twenty four years of this time working as a detective. I am currently working at the Liverpool North Robbery Investigation Unit at Merseyside Police. My area covers Liverpool City Centre and its surrounding areas and we investigate approximately 60% of all robberies committed within the force area.
Prior to taking up this position I was an area detective in the Knowsley Area, and before that I was a seconded officer at the National Criminal Intelligence Service where I investigated major crime or “core criminals” operating within the UK and abroad. My role was of a covert nature.
I have also served five years at the National Crime Squad / Regional Crime Squad working as a detective and I worked as a detective in Liverpool City Centre during the mid 1980′s to early 1990′s. My initial posting was as a uniformed officer, which commenced in 1982.
The reason for pointing out my career history is to outline the fact that I have never been employed in a “day job” or a “back office role”. I have been a front line policeman for the whole of my service and I have worked shifts throughout. I enjoy my role and even though I say it myself I am very good at it. I am marked exceptional and I have been recognised on many occasions and am proud to say been an “Investigator of the Year”.
My career has been eventful. I have been assaulted, I have been threatened, I have had criminals actively seeking my whereabouts, I have had threats made against me, I have had my home targeted and I have had a threat assessment against me. Throughout these periods I have continued to parade for duty and I am very proud to say that I have never been absent from leave due to sickness, injury or ill-health. In fact I have never taken a period of sickness in twenty eight years, even when my wife underwent a brain operation to remove a tumour on her brain. Some would say I am silly, I believe I am dedicated. In 2007 I underwent a hernia operation. I arranged for it to take place whilst I was rest day and resumed work four days later after taking “time due” rather than sick leave. In other words I used hours that I had worked investigating crime to recuperate. Others I know have taken four months to recuperate from this.
My career has had a detrimental effect on family life. It will probably surprise you to learn that I am still married even after twenty six years. However I have missed a great deal of my children growing up. That is regretful.
I have worked under various governments, Home Secretary’s and Police Ministers and I have been a member of the police force when various reforms have been implemented. Today there are many reforms being put forward to the police. It is understandable that governments have differing opinions and goals and it is obvious that the current financial climate has resulted in very difficult decisions being made. I do not wish to enter into the why’s and wherefore’s of this. That is an argument for politicians. However I would like to defend myself and colleagues from the sustained kicking and beating up we are currently receiving.
I have just read the Winsor Report in full. Yes I have digested the full 323 pages and I am currently reading the Hutton Report published today. I understand that there are justifiable concerns with regards to some of the bonuses paid to police officers. I understand that public sector pensions need to be reviewed and updated. What I do not accept is that you as Police Minister, and your colleague Theresa May as Home Secretary, seem to have great delight in making comments that antagonise colleagues and cause ill-feeling from the public. It was upsetting and caused me great concern when I heard her comments made in Wales days before the release of this long awaited report. Our job is difficult enough without you raising antagonism even further. Is there a hidden agenda in this?
I have read your comments made today ” Indeed, I think it would potentially cause those who work in the police service difficulty if others in the public sector were playing their part and they, as individuals in the police service, weren’t. ‘Police cannot be immune from the need to make savings.”
I realize that you are the Police Minister and your comments obviously relate to police matters but is there a need to bully the service in such a manner. I do not see other ministers berating and criticizing workers in other public sector departments. I genuinely feel that police officers are paying a higher price than many others in the public sector.
As an experienced officer, who is well educated and has previous experience working in other fields of employment I understand that there are issues within the police that need addressing. I realize that in this day and age overtime needs to be looked into and the enhancements examined. I work overtime, a serving detective has to, but I appreciate the costs incurred can be high and must be lowered. I am sure the Police Federation also understand this and agree in principal. I understand that sickness within the police has to be addressed and although it has improved a lot it can improve even further. As a police officer who has never taken a period of sick leave I get frustrated when I see officers working restricted duties due to poor health that is not work related. I also get annoyed when I see past colleagues who have retired due to ill-health living a perfectly healthy life after receiving their remuneration. As previously stated sickness within the police has improved and I am glad to say various loop holes with regards to retirement due to ill-health have now been closed. I exclude officers who have been injured on duty.
I recall suffering a broken jaw in 1986. I was injured on night duty arresting a male for an offence of theft and deception. I returned to work the following day and performed duties within the station charge office, thus allowing a colleague to replace me on the streets.
I recall in 1996 fracturing a bone in my ankle whilst I was engaged on a covert operation concerning a drug importation. I used my disability to good effect by being deployed into premises where the main offenders met. Useful evidence was gleaned which left the criminals speechless at court when the man they remembered using a walking stick in their premises proved to be a police officer.
These incidents may be hard to believe, but they are true and I am sure there are similar stories that can be told from officers up and down the country, yet you and your colleagues have constantly attacked the police and paid lip-service to officers
Your colleague Nick Clegg has referred to “gold plated” public sector pensions and the police are always mentioned when this issue is raised, yet the fact that we have paid 11% contributions has always been omitted or ignored.
The media have made mention of our bonuses yet they fail to realize that a police officer is restricted in his private life. A police officer working three shifts protecting the public does not receive a shift allowance unlike other workers, a police officer is restricted in having a second occupation unlike for example a fireman and a police officer has to be extremely careful with regards to who he associates with and where he lives. A colleague of mine had to leave his parental address because they were licensees and he could not live on licensed premises. In 1982 I made an application to purchase a property on the outskirts of Toxteth bordering the Liverpool City Centre in a Georgian Square. The house was a three storey with a cellar and was in need of much improvement. I was refused my application. That house is now worth an astronomical amount and had I have been able to purchase it, renovate it and sell it now I would not have needed a pension! I lost out because of my career. I accept that and laugh about it, but it is a factor in a police officers life.
As I reach the end of my thirty years I do so with sadness. I am proud of my work and my achievements. I am proud that I have performed the role of Constable and I am proud that I have protected life, arrested offenders, detected offences and prosecuted dangerous criminals. I looked forward to continuing in my role well after my thirty years service but due to the constant kicking I feel I have received I have no intention of continuing as a police officer and I will seek alternative employment in the private sector where my skills can be utilized and I will earn a better wage with hopefully less stress and certainly less constraints on my private life. My intention to continue in my role started to change as a result of the disgraceful behaviour of Jacqui Smith who when Home Secretary reneged on a back dated pay deal. The reasons she put forward were utterly ridiculous and it was not so much the decision made but the lack of integrity shown by her that caused such upset. You and your colleagues behaviour since coming into government has only enhanced my feelings.
The Hutton Report has stated that there is a compulsory requirement for police officers to now work until 60 years of age. In view of the fact that you and your colleagues are constantly talking about moving more officers back out onto the streets, are you serious in believing a 60 year old police officer in uniform is going to have much effect against a gang of youths carrying knives and or firearms. Today’s life in the police is nothing like that portrayed in “Dixon of Dock Green”. The challenges are huge and will take time to be achieved. I am sure the aims and objectives will be reached, but surely you must understand that an officer pounding the beat at 60 is not going to stand much chance against violent, career criminals who think nothing of using force when cornered. I do hope that my words don’t come back to haunt me and I do hope that injuries within the force do not increase as a result of these recommendations and subsequent implementation.
I am angry at this Government, especially you and the Home Secretary who seem to take every opportunity to attack me and undermine my professionalism.
I am angry at what is happening to policing and the level of cuts which have been imposed which will impact on front line services delivered to the public. A recent survey conducted by MORI on behalf of the Police Federation shows that the overwhelming majority of the public are happy or satisfied with the service they receive from the Police. This supports previous surveys, including the independent British Crime Survey, which has shown that the last few years have seen record falls in crime and increasing numbers of criminals brought to justice.
Police Officers are responsible for bringing offenders to justice and the fact that the prisons are full is testimony that they have delivered on this responsibility. I wait the day when the police are blamed for the prison overcrowding.
The police are not however responsible for all societies failings which creates the environment for criminality and anti social behaviour to flourish, although they often feel that they are blamed for the consequences of the failings of Government to tackle all of wider problems in society.
I am angry that I am being singled out from other public sector workers, in that not only do I face a two year pay freeze, a position I accepted without protest, but I also face a further attack on my pay and conditions.
I am angry that I will be expected to police protests, or deal with prisoners arrested as a result of these protests, from other workers who face attacks on pay and pensions, when I share many of the same concerns and fears with those whom I will have to police during such disputes.
I am angry at the relish you and the Home Secretary and others appear to be taking in tackling this situation and imposing these cuts.
I am frustrated at the lack of balance in the debate to date. I am frustrated that I and my colleagues appear to be getting blamed for the introduction of bonuses, which were forced upon us by a previous Government. Records will show the over whelming majority opposed these in the first place. Most officers would have welcomed a fairer pay distribution, incorporated into our wages rather than these bonuses. The Special Priority Payment, which I received was divisive and caused upset within the ranks. Officers working with me doing the same job failed to qualify because of length of service caused by only a percentage being allowed to receive the payment.
I am frustrated at the wild figures that have been bandied about in terms of overtime and I do not recognize that this is the true picture of what I earn. I have read of officers receiving a minimum of 4 hours overtime for being telephoned at home. Whilst this may be in the regulations I have never claimed this in all my service and I take phone calls at home all the time. Indeed only today two Security Managers at bookmaker’s chains telephoned me on my personal mobile, which I use for work, as I do not have a work issue one. I discussed with them two recent robberies and the need to introduce a better CCTV system. Last week I took a small break abroad and took phone calls from a complainant who required some re-assurance. I have never claimed this overtime and never will. During the recent half term break I was on annual leave for a week and spent time out every day to contact outside agencies to discuss the implementation of a crime bulletin incorporating staff safety issues at business crimes. (I can supply you with a copy if you wish. It was well received yesterday at the Retail Business Crime Reduction Meeting).
I am exceptionally frustrated by the fact that there is little I can do about this continued assault on me other than raise my voice by writing to you or through the Police Federation. I am denied industrial rights taken for granted by the majority of other workers. I cannot strike, work to rule or even refuse to work additional hours and I am denied access to Employment Tribunals for independent scrutiny of many decisions that affect my working life.
I am frustrated that this position is being exploited by a Government and Home Secretary who are acting like a school yard bully as you have the power and you intend to use it on the weak and vulnerable.
Could you please tell me what action you and your government ministers are intending to take in relation to the following as you are quite clearly intent on blaming me for the fact that previous governments and financial institutions have caused the economic crisis.
Pay. Are you taking a wage freeze? I appreciate the cabinet did not take the percentage pay rise, but it was considerably higher than the one offered to me during my last pay negotiations.
Cutting your pay which is considerably higher than mine. I believe your current annual salary is £134,565:00
Reducing your bonuses, although this seems to be a grey area when it comes to ministerial allowances and perks. It seems there is one rule for MP’s and none for ordinary citizens or public sector workers.
Restricting your outside business interests. I am restricted in having a secondary income so I feel it is only right that cabinet ministers and MP’s suffer the same fate. Let’s not forget “we’re all in it together”.
Cutting the proposed pay rise offered to MP’s who are currently paid £65,738, after receiving a 1.5% increase last year, just after the expenses scandal! Memory tells me that Sir George Young told MPs in January they’d be asked to reject the 1% rise, recommended by the independent Senior Salaries Review Body “in the light of the imposition of a two-year pay freeze for public sector workers earning more than £21,000″. Media reports suggest that MP’s are unhappy that it is being suggested they refuse or decline this rise.
Is the House considering a review into MP’s pensions? I understand you benefit from a Final Salary Pay Scheme. The details of which allow you a choice of accrual rates. As a member you can choose to contribute at 1/40th, 1/50th or 1/60th. And it is a contributory pension with the contribution rates set at 11.9%, 7.9% and 5.9% respectively.
Is the House considering a review into MEP’s Salaries? It is interesting to see that Euro MPs have recently awarded themselves a 1,500-euro (£1,278) increase in their monthly office allowance. This decision adds 13.2m Euros to the European Parliament’s 2011 budget. MEPs’ pre-tax monthly salary is set at 7,956.87 Euros and they also received a 1,500-euro increase in their office allowance last year. On top of this salary, the latest increase raises MEPs’ monthly 4,299-euro office allowance to 5,799 Euros. Official trips to Brussels and Strasbourg are refunded, and they get a separate annual travel allowance of 4,243 Euros. In addition, MEPs’ get a flat-rate allowance of 304 Euros for each day of attendance at official parliament meetings, to cover accommodation and meals. Whilst I understand we have little jurisdiction on these salaries surely UK members of this parliament should refuse the pay rises and take a two year pay freeze. The words “we’re all in it together” ring out loud enough to reach Brussels and Strasbourg.
If the issues raised above are not looked into I would have to ask why? Police Officers are employed to serve the public, and so are MP’s. Surely therefore you should live by the rules you look to impose on others.
I leave you with one last comment which is that in my long service I have never experienced such low moral as today.
I look forward to your reply although I expect that I will receive the customary one from a private secretary.
Andrew R Bason
A copy of this letter is being sent to the following:-
Rt Hon David Cameron
Rt Hon Theresa May
Rt Hon Ed Miliband
Rt Hon Frank Field
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper
Constable Ian Leyland.
Merseyside Police Federation
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