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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 13:54 GMT
'No compromise' over police pay
Fred Broughton
Mr Broughton: Hopeful of a government u-turn
The government appears in no mood to compromise after police officers overwhelmingly rejected a pay and conditions deal in a ballot.

The Police Federation has said it is hopeful of a government U-turn when arbitration begins on Monday.


The home secretary does have the power to make his own mind up but I think it would be inappropriate for him to do so

Fred Broughton, Police Federation
But unlike in other pay disputes there is no prospect of industrial action as police officers are prevented from striking by law.

Home Secretary David Blunkett could choose to ignore the results of the ballot and even over-rule the Police Negotiating Board, which rules on pay.

Discussions ongoing

Police Federation leader Fred Broughton has refused to say what action his members would take if Mr Blunkett refuses to back down.

"We are in a process of arbitration and conciliation and I am hoping on Monday that there will be a change of mind in relation to this package," he told a news conference.

He said he was hoping for "meaningful discussions" but the Federation would "consider on Monday what other action we might take" if the government refused to change its position.

"The home secretary does have the power to make his own mind up but I think it would be inappropriate for him to do so," he continued.

'Lack of trust'

Mr Broughton said the pay deal only went to a ballot because there was not enough time to properly consult members on the proposed changes.

Many of their (Police Federation) local representatives went round telling ordinary police officers they would be worse off, when in fact they will be better off

John Denham, Home Office Minister

The ballot showed "a clear lack of trust and a lack of clarity" in government and in the senior ranks of the police service.

Ordinary police officers did not trust chief officers to distribute extra government cash fairly, Mr Broughton said.

He conceded that many officers would earn more as a result of the changes.

But, he added, even those officers who would benefit financially from the proposed changes voted against them out of solidarity.

The proposals were "divisive" because they valued one police officer above another.

'Disappointed'

Home Office minister John Denham told BBC News 24 he was "quite frankly disappointed" that so many officers had voted against the proposed reforms.

But he added: "Let's remember this is an agreement that was reached with the national leadership of the Police Federation.

"They have failed to campaign for this with their members.

"Many of their local representatives went round telling ordinary police officers they would be worse off, when in fact they will be better off."

He said the government was not about to back down on the package it had proposed.

"We will make the case for reform for the reforms we want," he told News 24.

"We believe they are essential because we want to see police officers paid better.

"They will be paid better overwhelmingly through the pay agreement which we reached with the Federation.

"We will now go into consultation and arbitration on that deal."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Sarah Morris
"This is a major set back for David Blunkett"
Glen Smyth, Metropolitan Police Federation
"Police officers are pretty fed up with the Home Office"
See also:

28 Dec 01 | UK
Police wooed with pay deal
17 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Q&A: Police reform white paper
02 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Plan to reform 'failing' police
29 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Police anger over Blunkett reforms
12 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Blunkett reveals police reform plans
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