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Officers Warned: ‘Industrial Rights Not Solution’

Meeting of northern fed and officers hears votes must not be cast “emotionally” in poll next year

Police officers are as "angry as I've ever witnessed", a Police Federation branch chairman has told an open meeting – but he insisted industrial rights are not the answer.

Humberside Police Federation Chairman Steve Garmston said the “huge volume of change” currently happening to policing and to police officers’ pay and pensions had left many “feeling overwhelmed, confused and powerless to act".

However speaking to more than 180 officers from the force and visiting federation representatives from across the country, Mr Garmston (pictured) said obtaining industrial rights was not the solution to officers’ frustrations with the government.

¬Industrial rights are not the objective, achieving fairness is the objective¬

He added: “The phrase 'be careful what you wish for' is particularly pertinent.”

Officers from across the country will have their say on whether they think police officers should have industrial rights in a Police Federation of England and Wales poll at the beginning of next year.

Mr Garmston added: “Whichever way you decide to vote, please do so with cold logic and not anger or emotion as your motivation.

“Industrial rights are not the objective, achieving fairness is the objective, industrial rights are just a hypothetical means of achieving it.”

Mr Garmston said: “There is no time for in-fighting or second guessing over the federation's dealings with government reforms.

“We need unity and the trust you put in us when we were elected, so that we properly target our efforts at making a positive difference for the membership.”

Mr Garmston told the officers that lobbying their MPs over the substantial changes to policing is important so “they know the other side of the story”.

He said that an issue politicians need to know about now is the compulsory severance proposal in the Winsor II pay and conditions report. Recommendation 46, which encapsulates the proposal, is currently being discussed at the Police Arbitration Tribunal.

Mr Garmston added: “This has the significant risk of fundamentally changing the basis of our status as crown servants.

“This could jeopardise those deemed to be too expensive to the organisation, equally those who have the misfortune to become ill or injured in the line of duty.”

The meeting also heard that in October last year, Humberside Police had 1,874 police officers.

This number has now fallen to 1,760 and is scheduled to be as low as 1,610 by 2015.

Mr Garmston asked: "The serious question is are we being set up to fail, in order to justify privatisation?"

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