The Home Secretary, Theresa May has told police officers that they can expect a two year pay freeze, a cut in overtime payments and an end to ‘bonuses’.
The first question asked by TheOpinionSite.org – and most of its thousands of visitors – is why the police were getting paid so much in the first place.
The cost of the police in England and Wales is £11 billion per year. Just to spell that out, that’s eleven thousand million pounds a year. Three quarters of that is spent on people.
The latest overtime figures are for 2009. That bill alone came to £900 million.
Then there are allowances for housing, travel, retirement and redundancy. A lack of common sense in procurement of equipment and facilities wastes millions every year, along with the unnecessary harassment of the general public who then have to pay for the privilege.
Police numbers increased dramatically under Margaret Thatcher and increased to record levels under Tony Blair’s ‘presidential’ style administration. As New Labour (a ridiculous name by the way considering that Blair was one of the most right wing prime ministers this country has ever had) brought in endless criminal justice legislation, creating over 3,ooo new criminal offences in the process, so more and more police were needed.
Various murders, the 9/11 terrorist outrage in the US together with the London 7/7 bombings gave governments across the world the chance they needed to expand their power and control over their citizens. The UK was not only no exception to this doctrine but was also in the forefront when it came to allegedly ‘protecting the public‘ or, to put it more accurately, creating a police state for the supposed good of all the rest of us.
As the police numbers have grown, so has the waste.
Police officers spend less than 7% of their time on the streets and whilst one must recognise that a lot of their work is necessarily done behind closed doors, their excessive power coupled with the fear of pathetic politicians to criticise them has cost the rest of us dearly.
The former and now totally discredited Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith (she of the £66,000 expense fiddle and the porn movies) tried to cut police pay but rather pathetically backed down when the Police Federation organised protest marches against her! The only occasion by the way on which absolutely no one was arrested during a protest march.
Theresa May will be stronger because she has no choice but her opposition to Nick Clegg’s reform on some of the most contentious issues of the criminal law does not help her cause.
That the police have too much power in the UK is without doubt but TheOpinionSite.org points out that this power was given to them by us through our elected representatives. Most people only truly realise that the police are over powerful when that power is turned on us or our loved ones as individuals.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) wants to see pay reductions because the members of ACPO are the Chief Constables responsible for paying the salaries and trying to make the 20% of cuts over 4 years workable.
On the other hand, it is unlikely that they themselves will see much of a pay cut and most are grossly overpaid as it is.
The argument against cutting the pay of police is that it may deter the best candidates from coming forward. This is total nonsense in our view. People who claim to have joined the police ‘to make a difference‘ or ‘to serve the community‘ are not usually being honest, to us or themselves. Even if they do start out that way, it seldom lasts very long
The fact is that policemen, like prison officers enjoy the power they have over others who cannot fight back. TheOpinionSite.org believes that if nothing else, a pay cut may focus the minds of those who have the power to cause misery to individuals if they so choose to abuse their power and a cut may actually purge the system of the power junkies who have had it so good for so long.
Who knows? Cuts may even offer new hope for those who really do want to contribute to the welfare of society instead of bullying it into oblivion. Time will tell.