Police feel betrayed’
PUBLISHED: 17:13 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:47 23 August 2010
2008 Getty Images
THE Home Secretary was humiliated and accused of betraying the police force during a Police Federation conference. Jan Berry, who is due to stand down today, said Jacqui Smith s decision not to backdate a 2.5 per cent pay rise was a monumental mistake
THE Home Secretary was humiliated and accused of 'betraying the police force' during a Police Federation conference.
Jan Berry, who is due to stand down today, said Jacqui Smith's decision not to backdate a 2.5 per cent pay rise was a 'monumental mistake.'
Both attended the conference in Bournemouth last week, a day after officers voted for the right to strike. If industrial action is taken it would be the first police strike for 90 years.
She said: "Your decision not to honour the pay award was a breach of faith.
"It was a monumental mistake, and I don't say this lightly when I say you betrayed the police service."
Ms Smith infuriated police officers across the country last year when she decided not to backdate the pay rise to September and refused calls to reverse her decision.
In January over 15,000 police officers marched in London in protest. Coaches were put on for 40 officers who travelled from Dartford and Gravesend.
Ian Pointon, chairman of Kent Police Federation, said: "It's about fair play. We don't trust the Government and we don't trust the Home Secretary. She has acted in bad faith and ripped the rules up."
The police say their rise, only paid from December 2007, in reality amounts to 1.9 per cent. Officers in Scotland, however, were awarded the backdated rise by the Scottish Government.
About 1,000 delegates attended the conference, who also heard from embattled Ms Smith.
She said: "I know you strongly disagree with the decision but it was one that I took only after a lot of thought, after considering the full facts of the case, the need to keep mortgages and the cost of living under control - and that includes your mortgages and your families' cost of living as well.
"And there was another crucial factor at play: affordability. And for that, read police officer numbers."
Claiming she did not want to alienate police officers, she added: "Setting out on the road to the right to strike will only lead to a dead end."
At present police officers cannot legally strike but they are lobbying for change.
The outcome of a judicial review of Ms Smith's decision is due within days and she told the conference she would honour the ruling whatever it was.