Thousands mass in Westminster to argue that public safety is under threat
POLICE OFFICERS from all over the country are to mass in central London today as part of a campaign against government cuts that they say will lead to a rise in crime.
It might not be the best timing for the protest given events involving Met corruption and News International, but police anger at the cuts has been brewing for months.
"The open meeting is to show the Government our very real concerns about the impact their plans will have for policing and those tasked with delivering it, as well as the implications for public safety," said Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation.
Joining some 2,000 officers at the Methodist Central Hall – a famous Westminster political meeting place for generations – will be Labour's shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Brendan Barber of the Trades Union Congress.
Cuts of 20% to the police budget form part of the government's programme to cut its budget deficit, but officers are unhappy with the implications the cuts have for police numbers, pay, pensions arrangements and restructuring.
"This is part of a long programme of events we will be organising over the next few months and years," said Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation.
"We have a duty to get across to the Government, and the public, that the road they are going down is a very high risk strategy.
"We are not ruling anything out in the future. We will do anything we can that is within the law."