Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, made a devastating attack on Theresa May the Home secretary, and her policies today calling them "revenge".
Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, made a devastating attack on the Home secretary Theresa May and her policies, at the Federation’s conference today.
Describing the cuts to policing budgets as “revenge”, Mr McKeever said May was presiding over “falsely predicated policies… driven by a bitter antipathy towards policing and police officers“. He went on to say “we are careering towards what could be the meltdown of the British police service”.
Addressing the Home secretary directly he said:
“The first duty of any government is to protect its citizens.
It appears the public have little confidence in you to fulfil this
requirement of government.
Home Secretary, you have abrogated your responsibility and breached their trust.”
Mr McKeever, in a calm and confident style, launched scathing attack after attack on the the secretary, starting with the point:
“Wherever you go you will hear British police officers referred to with the highest regard.
“Everywhere that is except within this coalition government.”
Warming to this point Mc Keever talked about a “disregard” for the work police do and a government that possesses “such a degree of antipathy towards the police service that it is happy to denigrate officers routinely through its friends in the media and press”.
Mr McKeever said:
“Is this really more about payback for perceived slights in the past. Something that has been said to me from within government Home Secretary; this isn’t reform, this is revenge.”
“.. That suspicion was further compounded by your deafening silence in the weeks before the Winsor Review when spurious media accusations of ‘grab-a-grand’ police officers appeared to emanate from your office. You knew the truth, yet chose to stay silent and let the myth and nonsense perpetuate.”
Speaking yesterday at the conference Labour’s shadow Home secretary, Yvette Cooper spoke on the issue describing a “campaign of denigration” which saw “persistent briefings and distorted information straight from Downing Street and the Home Office” about a supposed “police gravy train”.
McKeever went on to slam May for not working hard enough to protect the police budget and then spinning the news to avoid responsibility:
“The policing budget has been cut by almost three times that of the Ministry of Defence. And yet you tell us and the communities we service that there will be no effect on the delivery of policing. That is sheer nonsense..
“And now, it is being spun by both and you and many senior police officers that we have to make a choice between job losses and suffering up to a 20 per cent cut in our pay and conditions. No! Home Secretary – you chose to make these cuts.”
He also said that the federation could only assume that May “welcomed” the cuts. In his parting comments – after calling May’s reforms a “disjointed policy… rather than considered and objective reform” – Mr Mc Keever said:
“My message today is also to all those communities we serve, day in and day out. Revealing to them the truth behind a government that pretends to be reforming the police service while it is in fact punishing police officers and the communities they serve with total disregard for the consequences.”
Yvette Cooper in closing her speech yesterday, said the government policies would lead to “fewer police, fewer powers, weaker prevention, weaker sentencing, no checks and balances” which created “the ingredients for a perfect storm”.
Cooper also stated:
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“The government should set up that independent review now and they should talk to you about how it should be done. And if they won’t we will.”