UK & World News
Home Secretary Heckled By Police Over Cuts
Theresa May has been jeered and heckled by rank-and-file officers as she defended herself against accusations that spending cuts are "destroying" Britain's police service.
The backlash came as the Home Secretary addressed the annual conference of the Police Federation in Bournemouth - just days after they took to London's streets to protest against pay cuts and job losses.
Officers jeered as Mrs May said changes to their pay and conditions were reforms which they should welcome.
Applause and cheers erupted as one federation member, Dave Bennett, challenged Mrs May over the planned cuts, saying: "Home Secretary, I believe you are a disgrace."
And shouts of "resign" were heard when Mrs May was told she had lost the trust of officers.
Despite the hostility Mrs May did not flinch from her central defence that the police were not being singled out for deeper cuts than the rest of the public sector.
She insisted the Government was having to "make difficult decisions on pay" because of "tough times", adding that while the 20% budget cuts were challenging they were necessary "for the good of our country".
Mrs May added officers' demands for the right to strike - a form of action they have been banned from taking for nearly 100 years - were "off the table" because protecting communities was "simply too important".
A Government-commissioned report by former rail regulator Tom Winsor in March recommended cutting starting salaries, curbing generous pension provisions, clearing the way for compulsory redundancies and penalising unfit officers with pay cuts.
During the conference officers gave a resounding roar and stamped their feet when federation chairman Paul McKeever asked anyone who thought Mr Winsor's review was independent to raise their hands.
As no one moved, he addressed Mrs May, saying: "I notice not even you put your hand up."
Speaking before Mrs May stepped onto the podium, Mr McKeever told her: "We warned you about the riots and you said we were scaremongering.
"We warned you that a 20% budget cut would damage the front line and were told we were wrong.
"We are warning you that you are racing towards a train crash that could destroy the effectiveness of policing in this country and harm the safety of the public.
"Home Secretary - take breath. Stop now, and review what you're doing or you will be found guilty of destroying the finest police service in the world."
Sky News correspondent Tom Parmenter, at the conference, said: "At times the atmosphere in the hall was extremely awkward. The silences were long and the heckles kept coming.
"She was booed, jeered and even insulted but the Home Secretary ploughed on regardless.
"The Home Secretary knew this would be a difficult crowd to address, she's been here before, but this time it seemed more personal.
"One officer laid it out to the Home Secretary in the starkest terms: 'We no longer trust you in the police service. Full stop. End of story'."
According to the latest police figures, the service is facing budget cuts of 20% amid the financial squeeze and police numbers are down to their lowest in a decade at around 136,000.
The federation, which represents officers up to the rank of inspector, has protested about what it calls the "privatisation" of police, with the security firms signing multi-million-pound deals to run custody suites and so-called "back office functions".
The depth of feeling was made clear last week when more than 30,000 officers marched through central London wearing T-shirts with a picture of Mrs May saying: "Get shafted and carry on."
what do you think?
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Would rather lose some MP's. We have to many for a little island
The coalition government are wrecking the police. They pay the highest contribution towards their pension of any public sector department. Yes some are still allowed to retire at 30 years but most it's after 40 years. Every previous government including this one have stated the police are a special case due to restrictions on their private lives and the fact that they cannot take industrial action. If they are now not then surely they should be allowed to take industrial action which includes strike action. Teresa May has proved that sheisnot fit for purpose after her actions in controlling our borders. Get shot of her and put someone else in charge who has a brain also common sense
Give the stupid useless woman the hardest time you can guys , she needs you much more than you need her .
d and d Phillips
Coalition motto - "Let's all go down together!" - quick, MP's and Bankers to the lifeboats.....
So the Coalition is reducing the Army to the lowest level since 1820, the RAF to its lowest level in 1912, the Royal Navy to its lowest level in 1650, the Police to its lowest level for 10 years. Cameron said he would cut MPs to 600 but NO he has not. In the USA which is about 100 times bigger than the UK and with 10 times more people they have the equivalent of 60 MPs so why do we need 600. There should be 1 per county which in 1650 that is what they had. He said he would cut quangos by 30% but in fact he has cut 28 but made a further 65. This Coalition wants to destroy this country financially and for security. Cameron is a Dictator worse than any other man in the world.
Well said. I agree completely. Cameron doesn't realise that his first duty is defence and the second duty is law and order. We have ring-fenced GBP 9bn for overseas aid, are one of the largest net contributors to the EU and even though not a member of the Euro, have spent tens of millions propping it up, which is all good money down the drain as the only answer is for the weaker economies to leave the Euro.
The Police want to ask The Miners if they'll sympathise with them.
Yeah, nice one Grant!
Too true Grant, a neighbour of ours, a miner, was at those coke ovens near Brookhouse Colliery picketing, and this was shown on national TV, watching what was going on between the police and the pickets when a mounted policeman rode up behind him and beted him over his head with a baton. There was no ifs and buts over the attack as it was shown clearly on national TV. Thesse police were Thatchers bully boys.
most of my fami;y were in the miners strike, the police were backed up by the army in police uniforms. but thats never mentioned? so when they have diminished the police they will feych the army in on us? should be " DO WHAT I DO, NOT WHAT I SAY" But this is England - ha ha ha ha
The miners should not have listened to Scargill. He still has a very nice pension and home not like most miners. I had some family who were miners and they all lost fheir jobs because the miners leaders picked a fight that they had no chance in winning. Too many left wing union leaders who are coming to the fore again. They will cause their members heart ache. Unite are one union lead by clowns
lower the number of MPs that should save a few £s, what is their job description any one know?
This woman is a waste of space look at the mess she made of the borders when crime goes up who is she going to blame this time
Forgot to say have they reduced their expences and wages by 20% no that would never do if we are all in it together Oh sorry its just everyone except MP's
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600 ipads... How much is that going to cost the tax payer?
The rank and file of the British Police Force, with no right of strike action, cannot be wrong, they are on the front line, and know what establishment is required to fulfil their obligations to the public. Terresa May is not qualified to be Home Secretary just like the rest of the MP's who also have no qualifications as this is a requirement to be an MP "You do not have to have any qualifications" Common sense would be good, but this seems to be absent in the Government. Until the country can vote for the best qualified for the job, then we will continue to get unqualified idiots, and playboy "posh boys" who think its a game.
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if this reduction stops police from driving around supermarket carparks and going to mcdonalds and wasting tax payers money doing this rather than walking the beat. I do feel sorry for the proper police who actually do there jobs but the other lazy power abusive ones doing no work this will wake them up.
Where I live, they drive round the car park the wrong way posing a danger to other drivers and pedestrians.
I think this whole country should strike. We didn't vote for this government uncertainly not their evil policies- i am going blind and have just found out my benefits are being cut. this government is the pitts.
how many mps are we cutting back on dont hear of mps being laid off
Well said Steve Swayne (5:56)! I have never in my life encountered a policeman worth paying more than a brass farthing!!
Anthony your a clown or a ned who is obviously in trouble with the police. Grow up you stupid boy
now then mr policeman your turn to experiance what its like to lose your jobs. pity you didnt feel the same way during the miners strikes. remember when you were duplicite in putting thousands of miners out of work. i remeber the hard line you all took with the pickets who at the end of the day were fighting for the right to work, the violence you dished out. how were they any different to you, you should remember what goes round comes round. SUCK IT UP.
mavis look the police officers were well aware of what they were doing...making lots of overtime money for a start. they never batted an eyelid as hundreds of miners jobs were lost. now when a few hundred of their fellow workers jobs are on the line theyre outraged. TOUGH
i should have said hundres of thousands not hundreds
Well said, Jonathan. I agree completely. Cameron doesn't realise that his first duty is defence and the second duty is law and order. We have ring-fenced GBP 9bn for overseas aid, are one of the largest net contributors to the EU and even though not a member of the Euro, have spent tens of millions propping it up, which is all good money down the drain as the only answer is for the weaker economies to leave the Euro.
The police SHOULD have the right to strike. You know we're in radical times when the police are hitting back like this. Yes, they were used as political attack dogs in the miners' strike and we can never forgive that.But they need to be run democratically and be accountable to local communities like they used to be and not used as a political battering ram. We need a good, accountable police force, not to be run by the government as an arm of the state against our people.