You will have noticed that the 2015 General Election campaign has involved various open letters to the politicians and the public signed by 100 people of various categories, seeking to raise particular perspectives on various topics of concern..
It started with that letter from 100 Big Business Leaders, warning that a change of Government would endanger the economic recovery: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11507586/General-Election-2015-Labour-threatens-Britains-recovery-say-100-business-chiefs.html)
Labour then organised 100 non-business leaders from various fields to give a contrary view. 100 Small Business Leaders chipped in with their support for Government policies too. 100 doctors highlighted the threat to the NHS if Government policies were continued after the election. Now 100 firefighters have highlighted the effect of Government policies on the fire and rescue service.
Well I think its time for 100 Police Officers to do likewise. The difficulty is that restrictions on police officers prevent them being overtly political and so openly putting their names to such a letter is not possible. Instead of that, I have drafted a letter and created a Survey Monkey link on which you can anonymously “sign” by registering your rank or role.
An open letter to the people of Britain:
We are professional police officers, police staff and former police officers. We understand the reality of policing in the UK. We believe this Conservative-led, Lib-Dem supported government has caused immense damage to police forces and to the service we are able to provide to you, the public we serve.
David Cameron and Theresa May’s flagship policy of making progressively deeper cuts to police budgets has led to over 17,000 fewer police officers today compared to when they came into office. That is a fall of over 12%. Cuts to police support staff have been even greater. Hundreds of police dogs and dozens of police horses have been lost. There are plans to halve the number of air support bases, leaving large areas of the country with no effective cover. The #CutsHaveConsequences campaign has vividly illustrated the result across the country. If they are re-elected, the Conservatives plan even more cuts.
The police service is in crisis. Numbers are falling. Experienced officers are leaving (or planning to leave) in their droves. Workloads are unbearable. Stress-related sickness levels are soaring. Neighbourhood policing – your local bobby – is on the verge of extinction. As a result, police are being cast adrift from their communities and we fear we will become remote, hostile, authority figures as in so many other countries.
Although some categories of crime are down, others (notably some categories of violent crime) are not. And all crime figures are beginning to show signs of rising again as the cuts work through. But crime is not the whole picture – some estimates suggest over 50% of demand for police assistance is not related to crime – and fewer officers means response times are rising too.
We believe that continuing with the policy of cutting the police service will further endanger public safety. It will send a negative message about Britain being a safe place to live and do business and it will put economic recovery at risk. Inward investment will only be made if the country is safe. Businesses will not thrive if crime is rife. Jobs will be lost if businesses close.
We are astounded that issues of policing, crime and disorder have been almost entirely ignored by all Parties in the General Election campaign. The public should be aware of the fact that the police service is perilously close to collapse when they make their choice.
We invite voters to consider carefully how policing has fared over the last five years and to use their vote to ensure that no further damage is caused and that a start is made on the long job of repairing the damage done.
In a personal capacity we therefore sign this letter.
The link to sign the Letter:
If you feel able to put your name to the above letter, please follow the link below and answer the single question with your rank or role. No further personal details are required and the process is entirely anonymous
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N2MFM95 (THIS SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED)
If you are an ex-police officer, or are not a police officer at all, and you are willing to publicly share your details, please select the appropriate category and add the details you are prepared to share in the additional details box at the end.
As soon as there are 100 police officer “signatures”, I will do my best to draw the letter to the attention of the mainstream media. The sooner the issue of policing is brought into the 2015 General Election campaign the better, so please sign up now (and encourage your colleagues to do so too).