The first national police strike in 88 years has become a possibility, in a dispute about pay and conditions, MPs have been warned.
The Police Federation, which represents officers, told a Home Affairs Select Committee that industrial action might be the only option.
Police officers last week rejected a 2.3% pay offer and are now awaiting a date for an arbitration tribunal.
They are also angry that they are responsible for their actions 24-hours a day – and that they don’t have the right to take industrial action.
Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation, told the select committee: “I believe it would be a tragedy for policing if police officers were ever forced to go on strike – it’s the last thing police officers want. But push them any further, and the last thing they want might just become their only option.”
British police officers have been barred from industrial action since the police strikes of 1919, which were also about pay.