News In Depth
Heckled May faces calls to resign
The Home Secretary faced calls to resign as she was told she had lost the trust of the police.
Theresa May was heckled and booed as she told officers from across England and Wales that they should stop pretending the police were being picked on.
Several officers called for her to resign, while others shouted that she was corrupt, after she told rank-and-file officers they should see through the changes to their pay and conditions for the good of the country.
Simon Payne, of Warwickshire Police Federation, told her: "Home Secretary, you may not like this, but we no longer trust you in the police service. Full stop. End of story."
The comments came after Mrs May spent almost two hours listening to officers' concerns and answering questions at the annual Police Federation conference in Bournemouth.
But she left to a chorus of boos and shouts of "resign" when host John Stapleton asked Mrs May what she could do to win back that trust.
Mrs May said later: "I can only tell them as it is and not as they would like to hear it from me.
"I have to be honest with them about the financial situation, I have to be honest with them about the Government's desire for reform, and I have been.
"This is a deal. There will be more accountability through police and crime commissioners, but we will free you up to do your job. We're delivering on that."
The officers' concerns come after Mrs May asked former rail regulator Tom Winsor to carry out the most wide-ranging review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years.
Earlier, the 1,200-strong crowd erupted when the federation's chairman Paul McKeever mocked Mrs May.
When no-one moved after he asked anyone who thought Mr Winsor's review was independent to put their hand up, he addressed the Home Secretary, saying: "I notice not even you put your hand up."
Mrs May stared at Mr McKeever as the questions continued.
Officers also cheered and stamped their feet as Mr Stapleton told Mrs May that officers felt Mr Winsor's review bore a "remarkable resemblance to a speech made by the Prime Minister" six years ago.
The Home Secretary said: "In terms of the speech David Cameron made, I think it was six years ago now, we've never said anything other than we believe that some reform was needed."
She added that she also wanted the review to be carried out by someone who was independent of policing.
But a series of officers lined up to air their complaints and anger over the Winsor review proposals.
Steve Thornton, of the federation's Staffordshire branch, said his force was reducing its numbers to 1,750 by 2015, taking it back to 1970s' levels.
"Can you explain to the people of Staffordshire why they should feel safe with you in charge?" he said.
Referring to the sign on stage saying, "Cutting police by 20% is criminal?", he added: "The writing's on the wall."
Another federation member, Dave Bennett, told Mrs May: "Home Secretary, I believe you are a disgrace."
He challenged Mrs May over the proposal to reduce constables' starting salaries.
Sam Roberts, of North Wales Police, added: "To pay a probationer £19,000 is disgusting."
Mrs May said no decision had been taken.
But Ian Pointon, of the Kent Police Federation, told Mrs May her speech gave the impression that the proposals were a "done deal" which would see "the end of policing by consent".
Turning to the pace of change, Ian Leyland, of Merseyside Police Federation, urged Mrs May to "slow down and listen to us".
She said she did listen and take notice when more than 30,000 off-duty officers marched through the streets of London in a protest against the cuts last week.
Sergeant Pete Oliver, of the Thames Valley Federation, said there was nothing in Mr Winsor's proposals which was not "shameful and dishonourable".
Ken Davies, of the federation's Cheshire branch, also told Mrs May her reforms were not affordable or manageable.
He said: "You've taken and will take 16,000 constables away from the frontline."
Officers will simply not be there the next time rioters take to the streets, as they did last summer, he said.
Mrs May announced that she would extend police powers to enable officers to prosecute traffic offences where the defendant does not enter a plea or turn up at court.
Police will also be given further powers "to prosecute a wider range of low-level offences", with the details announced later this summer, she said.
"These changes should allow the police to prosecute up to half a million cases every year," she said.
"That's around half of all cases currently heard in magistrates' courts."
But the option of the right to strike was "off the table", she insisted, adding: "Keeping our communities safe is simply too important."
Mrs May told the officers it was not true that the Government was singling out policing, adding that while the 20% budget cuts were challenging, they must be seen through "for the good of our country".
"Let's stop pretending the police are being picked on," she said.
"Every part of the public sector is having to take its share of the pain."
But Mr McKeever said he was concerned that Mr Winsor's proposed focus on credentials, qualifications, technical skills and accreditation in a "cobbled-together" professional body risked that policing would lose its key values of fairness and integrity.
This move away from core values has already been seen in other parts of the public sector, such as nursing, he said.
"I'm concerned that we could too easily lose our way," he said.
"Home Secretary, do not allow that to happen to the core values of policing."
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "It is clear that the Home Secretary has lost the respect and support of thousands of police officers across the country who want to do their job and keep us safe.
"It's time the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Home Secretary started to listen to communities and police officers across the country.
"Efficiencies can be made, sensible reform should be undertaken but the loss of 16,000 police officers is crazy, and it will be communities across the country that pay the price."
what do you think?
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the woman is incompetent ,way ,way out of her depth .Just like all the rest of the tory idiots come to think of it.
Paul Robert Terry
She's playing with fire. The only people governments MUST keep on their side are the police & armed forces, because those are the people who defend governments from public anger.
If all the people asked to resign actually did, we would be like Greece no one in charge.
Watch Greece, as soon as they're out of the eurozone things will start looking better for them, after the initial chaos and nervousness. Lets not forget under their own currency they didn't have it bad.
Asking her to resign, someone must be joking. She is on too much of a good thing. The Conservative are proving that they have been out of office too long and don`t really know what to do. Mind you, Labour never knew in the first place. As for the Lib/Dems. Sorry I don`t tell jokes.
Couldn't someone have arrested her for causing disorderly conduct? Its obvious that the Conservatives are at a loss as to know what to do.
I disagree! They KNOW EXACTLY what THEY are aiming for!
I am surprised to hear that we have any police. All we ever see are Community Officers. Are the real police still hiding away harassing motorists? Just out of interest, why don`t the Government heavily fine binge drinkers who cause trouble to help pay for the police instead of increasing alcohol prices for the moderate drinkers who cause no trouble?
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Brilliant idea - I agree entirely.
out of touch with the real world.
The Home Office doubled in size under Labour between 1997 and 2010 - that is where the cuts should start. Someone dumped stolen goods on my property, and when I reported them to the police, a constable arrived and needed to know my nationality, place and date of birth, and a lot of other details, so that something that should have taken a few minutes dragged out for some time. There is too much form filling to meet Home Office requirements, and mcu of it is duplicated. A police officer I know attended a domestic incident at the start of his shift, was still form filling long after his shift should have ended, and then a couple of days after, the wife withdrew her allegations, so time wasted.
Before the last election i was scared the tories would get in power. My thoughts are now completely justified. God knows what any ordinary working person was thinking of to put this incompetent shower into power. Can't wait for Labour to get us back on track
It's because of labour that the UK is. The highest national debt of any european country, highest personal personal debt of people in the EU. Highest crime rates per capita, highest hard drug use dependancy, highest amount of freeloaders on benefits, highest amoung of foreign criminals in prisons and on the streets. Not lets forget we are now completely hated by every muslim walking the streets due to Iraq Afghanistan, and you say back on track. I left the Uk under labour becasue I could see hard times coming, regardless who was going to win.
Salary, Five Weeks Holiday, Six Months Full then Six Months Half Pay when sick, Contributions to their Pension plus other Benefits. Please, Public Sector Workers.....Get Real. Private Sector Workers would love your pay and benefits. I, and the rest of the Self Employed get nothing.
Then why not become a Policeman if you think the job is so cushy and generous? I don't know what your occupation is but I'm willing to bet someone pays your upkeep! Private sector employees seem to forget two things; one if you are working for peanuts and poor conditions - then perhaps you should join others fighting for better? Secondly, we all pay private sector emplyees pay & pensions etc., when we buy goods and services. So we all pay for each others income. Don't let this bunch of wealthy politicians drive wedges between all working people!
Exactly Marc. Self employed myself. When your not working it's go away and starve!
Mike roi, you say "why not become a policeman" Erm, have you missed the entire point of this article....
I think she's right, the Police do need a pay cut. The wages they get do seem high in comparison to other jobs, especiallly in London. Obviously this isn't going to be popular, the problem is not the cuts but the ridiculous wages they were give to begin with.
When Ms.May said they police would be able to prosecute up to 500,000 more cases; would these include perhaps corrupt politicians who have been stealing money from the public purse for decades? Or is that stretching incredulity a little too far!
Windows Live User
Cant understand why Cameron holds onto her, unless its because he has no one better. Last time she was met with stony silence, this time with boos and calls for her to resign. Lost the faith of the police!! Man she couldnt even get rid of Abu Hamza Afraid I join the police with a Vote of No Confidence in her ability.
I agree with the sentiment of your post but I think it's Abu Quatada we're still trying to get rid of, not Hook hand Hamza. She mada a complete mess of immigration then LIED about what she'd said. The officer who resigned was then given substantial compensation for wrongful dismissal. She can't tell the time and apparently can't read a calendar either.
The only people NOT to have undergone any pension or pay review are those in power inflicting it on the rest of us. They've delayed 3 times now on examining their own pension contributions and payouts and with still no date set to do it. She should be an embarrassment and liability but they are ALL out of touch with ordinary people. We are NOT all in this together and no-one voted for this ridiculous coalition.
Margaret M. Mason
A case of "Do as I say" certainly not "Do as I do"" "Get the strength of the our Polititians around US" We are alright Jack.!!!
Theresa May hid behind a scapegoat over the 'wave them in' policies imposed on the Borders Agency last year. After the gentleman in question threatened to sue for wrongful dismissal every thing suddenly went quiet. Was he bought off? You betcha. She is and always will be a puppet for David Cameron. He pulls her strings. He has to...she is totally without experience or ability to hold her position. But this is Camerons biggest problem! Having been out of government for so long none of his close favourites are are capable of government. How many of them have resigned, been moved out, or hidden, as May did, behind junior staff members. To be honest, if he loses Hunt and May he would have to pak it in.
I remember the early 80`s when the thing from Grantham was closing all the Mines ,the mining pickets would chant at the brutal police lines "it`s our turn today it will be your turn tomorrow"the police waved bank notes at the miners bragging they get plenty of overtime.What is round comes round.
why not lead by example and give up 25% of her pay, come to think about it why dont all the rest do the same, they certainly do not earn what they get, whilst we are at it lets get rid of 50% of mps I dont think we would notice the difference,
SHIREEN HALL ITS LIEBOUR WHO GOT US IN THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.BUT IF YOU ARE BRAINWASHED INTO VOTING FOR ANY OF THE THREE MAIN PARTIES THEN EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME. VOTE FOR BNP UKIP ANY BODY BAR THE THREE MAIN PARTIES OR THINGS WILL NEVER CHANGE SIMPLES.