Northamptonshire Police officers unite to condemn home secretary over police pay freeze
"Northamptonshire deserves a motivated force but this is just more evidence of our goodwill and vocation being abused," says county Federation chair
Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley has joined furious officers in a brutal condemnation of the government and its police pay freeze.
The county's Police Federation chair, Sergeant Sam Dobbs, confirmed 1,324 rank and file members backed a declaration of no confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel.
He said: "The government cynically and perversely states it ‘has our backs’ whilst showing little tangible understanding or support of policing at any level."
Messages from officers described the decision as a kick in the teeth and a betrayal, calling for a ban on overtime and rest-day working.
And Chief Constable Nick Adderley today (Friday) backed the Federation's stance, saying: "Over the past 18 months I have seen officers punched, stabbed, shot, persecuted and ridiculed whilst attempting to implement confusing, rushed and ambiguous legislation, in order to protect the public and rightly, the NHS, only to be ignored when it comes to a pay settlement.
"The announcement of a zero per cent pay increase for police officers is quite frankly an insult and wholly unacceptable.
"Pay aside, this indicates a complete lack of awareness, appreciation or recognition for the incredible work officers have done throughout this pandemic."
The government trumpeted a three percent pay rise for NHS workers backdated to April to recognise their pandemic efforts during an "unprecedented year."
Also on Wednesday, the Ms Patel announced the pay freeze for police officers in a written ministerial statement.
Sgt Dobbs added: "The pay freeze is just more evidence of our goodwill and vocation being abused.
"We have bent over backwards to cooperate with a government and home secretary, who, in the words of our national chair, ‘cannot be trusted or taken at face value.’
"Policing in Northamptonshire has been challenging over the past decade following undisputed shortfalls in funding.
"Thanks to the confidence and support of our Police and Crime Commissioner, he has filled the gap, paid for by local people. Thanks to the leadership and tenacity of our Chief Constable, and the hard work of the rank and file, we are moving out of the government scrutiny on our past poor performance.
"But policing everywhere, and especially here, absolutely and fundamentally relies on the vocation and calling of officers, their goodwill and discretionary effort.
"It is visible hourly and daily across the county, with another meal missed, family event spoilt, and being late home again. It is there when we are called from our beds to deal with a crisis or have to upset the kids by leaving the cinema early for one of the many hats we wear.
"Abuse of that goodwill is doubly crippling given our shared commitment to fight crime and protect the people of Northamptonshire who deserve a properly funded, supported and motivated police force."
A Home Office tweet earlier this week said: "The economy has been significantly impacted by the pandemic but we're committed to supporting the police by recruiting 20,000 police officers and doubling sentences for those who assault officers.
"On top of this we've given forces an extra £200m to meet unforeseen costs of the pandemic, established a £10m funding pot so every single officer can have a Taser and provided £3m funding to the National Police Wellbeing Service.
"Our support for our brave police officers is unwavering and we will always ensure they have the resources and powers they need to fight crime and protect the public."
Police, along with prison officers, are legally banned from striking in England but a National Police Federation statement said it would "start a dialogue on the actions that we can take to have our perspective listened to and responded to."
Sgt Dobbs added: "It’s not just about the zero per cent. It’s about the slow-burn which has got us here; the feeling of abandonment by a Government which is just about to pile even more requirements on our Chief Constable and our members who haven’t much more left to give.
"So today marks a change in gear from this Police Federation.
"Our job is to represent our members’ views, and today, alongside colleagues from across England and Wales, we spoke with one voice and that voice was clearly heard by national representatives."