10:00am Wednesday 9th May 2012
By James Nadal
MORALE in the police force is 'very low', a union chief says, as six hundred officers from Thames Valley prepare for a London rally.
Disgruntlement centres around Government cuts to the force, which the police federation claiming it is being destroyed.
About 150 to 200 officers from Buckinghamshire will get on coaches from High Wycombe and Amersham to join their colleagues across the UK in the capital protest.
They will march close to Downing Street with their message of discontent tomorrow.
Only members of the force on leave are taking part, in their own time.
Thames Valley Police Federation Chairman Graham Smith told the Free Press: “Morale is very low in the force, it would be wrong for me to say otherwise.
“This rally is about the destruction of policing by this Government and the draconian attack on our pay and conditions.
"The public are being hoodwinked really that 20 per cent cuts won't impact on them.
“When you look at what this Government is doing to policing there's every reason to want to try and highlight the problems.
“If this was the NHS the public would be up in arms in terms of the swingeing cuts affecting us up and down the country.”
Officers up to and including chief inspectors are involved in the rally.
Mr Smith said in Thames Valley the cuts were not biting quite as hard with 150 officers losing their jobs over four years compared to 7,000 lost so far in the country as a whole.
The projected number of losses to come is 16,000 nationwide, he said, adding the front line in Thames Valley will be affected if any more jobs are cut.
The Home Office said in a statement: “As a service spending some £14 billion a year it is right for the police to make their contribution to reducing the record budget deficit.
“Existing police pay and conditions were designed more than 30 years ago which is why we asked Tom Winsor to carry out his independent review.
"We will continue to ensure that police officers are rewarded for doing an exceptional job.”
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group