Officers protest against police reforms

Up
to 5,000 off-duty police officers are expected to rally at Westminster in
response to the proposed reforms to the service.

The
demonstration has been organised after many officers voiced concerns over the
proposed changes which would slash overtime and alter the pay and benefits
structure.

Officers
from around the country are lobbying MPs outside Parliament and have been told
by the Police Federation to register their frustrations. Police officers have
already rejected the Bill by a staggering 10-1 margin in a ballot organised by
the federation.

The
Police Reform Bill, developed by Home Secretary David Blunkett, also includes
the introduction of civilian wardens and new powers to tackle
under-performance.

Fred
Broughton, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said:
"We would rather be focusing our efforts on fighting crime and seeking
improvements to the criminal justice system, but have been left no option but
to lobby MPs.

"Our
very real concerns about the cheapening of the police service are being ignored
and the views of dedicated police officers are being misrepresented by spin
doctors portraying the service as change-resistant ‘wreckers’ when we are
nothing of the kind."

www.polfed.org/main_frame.htm

By Ross Wigham

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