UK & World News
No Mandate For Police To Seek Right To Strike
Thousands of police officers have voted in favour of the right to strike but a bid to change the law has been abandoned due to low turnout.
In a ballot of the Police Federation's 133,000 members across England and Wales, some 45,651 backed the right to strike with 10,681 against.
However, because less than half of its members voted, the organisation does not have a mandate under its own rules to push for a change in the law.
It is currently illegal for police officers to take industrial action - the last official strike was believed to be in 1919.
The low turnout avoids a new row between the coalition and police rank-and-file officers.
Steve Williams, chairman of the federation, said: "It would not be appropriate to undertake a course of action that could potentially change the employment status of more than 133,000 police officers if fewer than half of those officers have voted for us to do so."
He added that most members would consider industrial action to be a "last resort".
But he made clear that the "significant number" who did vote in favour had done so in protest at the Government's reforms.
The Federation's members were asked the question: "Do you wish for PFEW to seek the right for police officers to take industrial action?"
Its policy states that a clear mandate to seek industrial rights can only be provided by more than half of its total membership voting in favour.
The vote came after the group's officials said 20% cuts to policing and "attacks" on pensions, pay and conditions had sparked "unprecedented discontent and low morale".
Relations were further damaged by a report by former rail regulator Tom Winsor which recommended that police forces should face changes to pay, conditions and recruitment.
Suggested reforms included cutting pay for new constables by £4,000 to £19,000 and creating a fast-track to inspector scheme.
Chief constable roles should also be opened up to foreign candidates for the first time, according to the report.
Home Secretary Theresa May has said she is minded to press ahead with the radical overhaul proposed by the civilian lawyer.
A recent survey indicated just over half of police officers would consider looking for another job because of concerns about the changes.
The Federation's central committee will now discuss the ballot result before deciding its next move.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said: "I am pleased the vast majority of police officers do not want the right to strike - their work is too important.
"Our police have done a fantastic job to cut crime by 10% over the first two years of this Government, despite having to play their role in cutting the country's record deficit.
"The Federation has a key role to play in driving our reforms on improving professionalism and leadership across all ranks and I look forward to working closely with them in the future."
Hello, regular commenting on Orange News and Sport pages closes on Thursday 30 May 2013. We will continue to provide a commenting facility on major news and sport events on orangeworld.co.uk. Contact http://orangeworld.co.uk/p/helpandcosts/feedback if you have any further questions. Thanks.
what do you think?
What you deserve and what you actually get in life are two different things. I do think the police should be paid more, but the soldiers currently risking their lives should at least get the same as the police......and both groups don't deserve to be paid less than teachers.
A wise move by the police. It's a real shame that all Trade Unions do not refrain from striking unless as a last resort.