Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 17:41 UK

Police to launch 'work to rule'

Police on patrol
The police are currently banned from going on strike

Police officers in England and Wales are to "work to rule" after talks over this year's pay deal broke down.

The Police Federation will ask its 140,000 members to work to their conditions of employment.

The move could leave forces short of manpower, although it is not expected to affect major criminal inquiries.

The Police Federation has described the government's offer of a 2.325% pay rise as an "insult", after making a demand of a 3.5% increase.

Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever said in a letter to members that "police officers are dissatisfied with the way we are being treated by the government".

We have made it clear to the home secretary that actions speak louder than words
Paul McKeever
Police Federation chairman

Officers were involved in a dispute with the government last year when a 2.5% increase was introduced in stages, making it effectively a 1.9% rise.

An estimated 22,500 officers marched in central London in protest.

Officers are banned from going on strike, but they voted at the Police Federation's annual conference in May to lobby the government for the right to strike.

Mr McKeever continued in his letter: "All too often we hear the platitudes of the prime minister and other government ministers describing what a difficult job we do, how brave we are and how much we are valued.

"We have made it clear to the home secretary that actions speak louder than words."

'Generous' offer

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said the situation had come about because of the "completely dishonourable way the government treated the police during last year's pay negotiations".

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "This is what happens when the government refuses to honour pay negotiations for a workforce that cannot strike."

A spokesman for the employers' side of the Police Negotiating Board said officers were offered a three-year pay deal which was "one of the most generous in the public sector".

The spokesman said: "Regrettably they rejected it. That is why we were forced to offer a one-year deal.

"That offer was in line with the index recommended by the independent police arbitration tribunal last year."


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