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'Take share' of cuts, Theresa May tells police

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Police need to take a "share" of government cuts, Home Secretary Theresa May has told rank and file officers.

Her address to the Police Federation comes as forces in England and Wales face budget cuts of 20% and some of the most radical reforms in 30 years.

She said changes were in the service's interest but insisted crime fighting duties would not be be privatised.

Some officers held up placards reading "enough is enough" as Mrs May came on stage and she was heckled.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw tweeted that the home secretary had apparently been reluctant to be photographed or filmed in front of a sign on stage saying "20% cuts are criminal".

"It's my job to do what is right for policing and right for the country and it's my job to reform policing so that it's fit to face the future," Mrs May told the federation's annual conference in Bournemouth.

"Less paperwork, more police work. More power for the public, less power for the bureaucrats and freeing the best police officers in the world to fight crime."

The budget cuts were challenging but should go through "for the good of our country", she added.

Mrs May said officers needed to "stop pretending" they were being "picked on".

"Every part of the public sector is having to take its share of the pain," Mrs May

In a question and answer session after the speech cheers and applause broke out after one federation member, Dave Bennett, challenged Mrs May over the proposed pay cuts for new officers and told her: "Home Secretary, I believe you are a disgrace".

Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever said the home secretary was "on the precipice of destroying" a police service admired throughout the world.

As well as the planned cuts, the federation is unhappy with the government's proposed radical overhaul of pay and conditions, and a challenge to the existing model of policing with the privatisation of an increasing number of jobs.

Mr McKeever told the conference: "We are about to go through some fundamental change that will alter policing for ever."

He told delegates: "This is a bad deal for police officers, it's a bad deal for the service and most of all it's a bad deal for the British public."

He added that proposed wage cuts were "over and above" other public sector workers and "palpably unfair".

And he cautioned against cutting more officers.

"Despite the mantra that we hear on occasions about how you can do more with less, we know that's not true when you're cutting by 20%," he said.

"The reality is the only thing you're going to get more of with less by 20% is more crime, more anti-social behaviour, and more disorder."

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Sam Roberts from North Wales Police asked the home secretary if she had ever told a parent that their child had died

The end of Mrs May's speech was greeted with silence from the 1,200 officers at the conference but there were heckles during the question and answer session.

A review by former rail regulator Tom Winsor proposed a fundamental shift in how the police are paid - awarding the officers who are taking the greatest risks in front line jobs, while cutting payments and allowances.

Mr Winsor also proposed ending retirement after 30 years service and said potential high achievers should be allowed to enter at inspector level, rather than rise through the ranks.

On the issue of allowing more outside firms to take over police roles, Mrs May told the conference: "It will only ever be police officers who make arrests; it will only ever be police officers who lead investigations; and it will only ever be police officers who direct policing operations."

But she said giving officers the right to strike was "off the table" because "keeping our communities safe is simply too important".

She also announced she would extend police powers to enable officers to prosecute traffic offences where the defendant does not enter a plea or turn up at court. An announcement will also be made in the summer on powers that will give forces further powers "to prosecute a wider range of low-level offences".

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Do you work for the police service? What is your reaction? Please send us your comments and experiences.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18091338# This woman is wrong to say what she has said.
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