Police officers' fury over pay dispute

A POLICE representative today claimed officers in Suffolk had been left feeling angry and unvalued as a result of the bitter national pay dispute with the government.

A POLICE representative today claimed officers in Suffolk had been left feeling angry and unvalued as a result of the bitter national pay dispute with the government.

Many officers are unhappy with the Home Secretary's announcement of a 2.5 per cent increase - which will be implemented from December 1 rather than September 1 as expected.

Such is the discontent that police leaders have warned that they could ballot their members on whether they should seek an end to the legal ban on industrial action by police.

Today, Suffolk Police Federation chairman Jim Keeble urged the government to treat officers fairly.

He said: “We feel that because we don't have sanctions which can be used against the government, they can ride roughshod over us.

“Officers want to be valued, but there is a whole spectrum who are very unhappy.

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“We are conducting an internal poll at the moment, which is by no means finished, but the overwhelming answer we are getting is that people want to explore how they can get the right to industrial action if they don't get fully binding arbitration.

“We don't want a situation like we have at the moment where the Home Secretary says she likes this bit of arbitration but not the rest. We have nothing else to negotiate with.”

An officer's starting salary in Suffolk is currently around £20,000.

Mr Keeble and five colleagues will tomorrow attend a meeting of up to 1,000 officers in Westminster to decide on their next move.

The government has already warned that it would resist any attempt by police to seek the right to strike.

Police minister Tony McNulty insisted that industrial action had no place in police culture.

He said: “They know that ensuring public safety and national security are key priorities for every single member of the policing family, as well as for the government, and that is why they can't take strike action.”

Should officers be paid more? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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