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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 21:03 GMT
Police anger over Blunkett reforms
Police officers
Police are said to be opposed to many of the plans
Police reforms to be introduced by the government face stiff opposition among officers, it has emerged.

Confidential negotiations between the police and the Home Office were leaked by officers who say they are being patronised by the government.

Leaked reforms
Reducing restrictions to allow more officers to go part-time
More cash for specialist police
Bonuses for very demanding work such as hostage situations
Recruits aged over 22 should get more cash than younger entrants
The reform of pay and conditions which Home Secretary David Blunkett is trying to introduce is a particular point of contention.

Details of Mr Blunkett's demands were leaked by the Police Federation.

They include plans to cut police overtime, usually paid at a third over the normal rates, down to ordinary time.

The Home Office also wants to withdraw payments made when shifts are changed at short notice and offer a day off instead.

Under the plans, officers would also lose food allowances and instead be expected to submit "reasonable" expenses with receipts.


The vice-chairman of the Police Federation, Jan Berry, said: "The home secretary wants this package signed, sealed and dusted in time for a Police Reform Bill in early 2002."

"After months of dithering, the Home Office has produced only an outline of what now forms part of its final proposals.

"At the same time it is forcing us to give a comprehensive reply within four weeks."

Mrs Berry objected to a Home Office pamphlet distributed to officers via the federation's magazine which she said gives a vague and misleading view of police reform.

David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett is determined to put his reforms through
She objected to a phrase which promised "greater flexibility and better incentives".

"It is this kind of patronising phraseology, this trick of saying one thing and meaning the exact opposite, which guarantees police officers will treat this piece of Home Office propaganda with scepticism, suspicion and even cynicism," said Mrs Berry.

Sickness claims

The Home Office also wants to target sick pay claims by closing loopholes.

Officers reaching the end of 12 months limit on sick pay for example are allowed to return to work for a day and be entitled to half pay if they go sick again.

Police Federation general secretary Clint Elliott said his organisation had too little time to consider the proposals.

"This is unacceptable and leads us to believe that we will have pay and other schemes imposed on us," he said.

The Home Office leaflet confirms Mr Blunkett intends to give police powers to civilian personnel such as community wardens - a move condemned by the federation as privatising policing "by the back door".

Mrs Berry said: "It should set the alarm bells ringing for all of us who are utterly opposed to the dilution of policing."

Reform package

"If the government carry on dishing out powers to all and sundry, no-one will know who can do what, when and how."

A Home Office spokeswoman: "We've been working with the police service for over a year on the issue of police reform.

"We have asked the police negotiating board to explore and agree a package of measures to help provide more flexible working, better deployment of officers and a fairer system of rewards."

She said the leaflet outlined key themes of police reform, answered frequently asked questions and provided details of where officers could get further information, complimenting the police reform website launched in September.

The government is set to publish its White Paper on police reform within days.

See also:

12 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Blunkett reveals police reform plans
26 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blunkett lives up to hard man image
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Top police recruits to be fast-tracked
01 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Police red tape targeted
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