Police officers were disappointed by the “warm words” and lack of substance from the Home Secretary at this year’s PFEW annual conference.
Priti Patel was full of praise for the police, and she promised she would work with them on pay, but nothing was offered to make officers feel optimistic about the future.
Issues of pay and conditions dominated the meeting in Manchester, as delegates told the Home Secretary that many of their members were struggling to make ends meet.
Officer pay has fallen 20% behind the cost of living, and they haven’t had a pay increase since 2020.
Speaking after her keynote speech to the conference in Manchester, Cheshire Police Federation Chair Jamie Thompson said her address lacked detail.
He explained: “She told us a lot of things we already knew. We know how she feels about us. We know that she says she supports us and we know that she’s seen police officers up and down the country because she tells us that all the time.
“It’s something we’ve said for a long time about warm words that come from the Home Secretary.
“But I didn’t see any detail today about what she’s going to do to support the officers.”
One public protection officer from North Wales told the Home Secretary that despite her 23 years’ service, she had to visit a food bank and borrow money from her mum to get by.
Jamie added: “I’m glad the Home Secretary could hear that because that was true and it’s happening every single day to our members in Cheshire.
“So I’d urge the Home Secretary to listen. If she was here now I’d say, listen to that example, it’s not an isolated incident.”
In response to hearing the public protection
officer’s emotive comments, the Home Secretary said: “It illustrates so strongly and powerfully why we need to find solutions to pay issues and give you the support you rightfully deserve.
“We have to move this forwards. You have that
commitment from me. You absolutely do. Steve [Hartshorn] and I have our work to do. None of this will happen overnight, but you have it from me that we will drive this forward and that is a commitment I give to you.”