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The BBC's Guto Harri
"William Hague is standing by his most controversial comments"
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Sunday, 17 December, 2000, 13:27 GMT
Police morale 'worst yet'
The Macpherson report hit the police hard
The Macpherson report hit the police hard
Police Federation chairman Fred Broughton has called for a Royal Commission to examine the problems facing the force and restore confidence among officers.

He writes in the Parliamentary House Magazine that morale in the police service is the worst he has seen it.

His comments came as Tory leader William Hague reopened the political row over policing, saying morale had been damaged since the Macpherson report labelled officers "institutionally racist" and the government let numbers fall.

Damilola Taylor's death has put crime in the spotlight
Damilola Taylor's death has put crime in the spotlight
Mr Broughton said the Federation had taken the unusual step of withdrawing from talks with the Home Office, police authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

"What began as a call for modernisation has suddenly taken on the mantle of police reform," he said.

"We have not called for a Royal Commission before - but we do now. There is a drive to reduce costs whatever the consequences. The question some ask is: how do we get more cops for less money?

"Internally with the police service there is one view. Politicians in the Home Office and civil servants have another. Parliament has yet another view. Then there is the community itself that wants more visibility - meaning more cops."

William Hague and Ann Widdecombe
William Hague: Re-ignited deabte on the police service
He added: "Morale is the worst I have ever seen it. I have been to meetings over the past three months packed with ordinary police officers coming in saying, `What the hell is going on?'

"We have this range of problems facing us. We don't think we are getting the right reward for the job that we are doing.

"There is an increased workload. There are rising housing costs in the south, with major problems with young police officers trying to find a home and settle down. They can't afford to do that in many parts of the country. They are unhappy.

"There are questions about their vulnerability, working alone, with no support or any immediate back-up. So there is a whole range of problems, which seem to be growing and growing."

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See also:

17 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Hague stokes crime argument
25 Mar 99 | Stephen Lawrence
The Lawrence inquiry
30 Aug 00 | UK
Who would be a PC?
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