Paul Rowen MP interrogated by police!

December 10, 2007 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has spoken of his support for Rochdale's police officers. Mr Rowen was talking after it emerged that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith MP has decided not to honour an independent decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal. This was to backdate the 2.5% pay rise for police officers. Mr Rowen has received dozens of complaints from serving officers in Rochdale.

He said: "I can assure any officer in Rochdale and working throughout Greater Manchester that they have my full support. I am disappointed that officers are being let down yet again by the Government. Our officers work tirelessly to ensure our safety. They face the daily dangers, carry out government policy and agendas and feel quite rightly insulted that they are not receiving their full pay award. The fact that they found out through a leaked document is an insult to a profession that provides a very valuable and difficult service for us. We believe the pay award should be backdated so that it represents the 2.5% agreed, not the 1.9% the government intends to make it. This government are penny pinching yet again but I think they are totally out of order for targeting our hard working police officers. This is especially crass in that our officers are already over stretched because of the funding crisis at Greater Manchester Police."

The Police Federation are currently balloting members on the right to strike. Strike action is something that the police have always avoided.

Mr Rowen said: "This demonstrates just how inadequate the Home Secretary's handling of the situation has been. The Home Secretary should honour the panel's decision, and owes our police an apology for the manner in which her department has dealt with the issue. The Liberal Democrats want the arbitration system to be binding on the Home Secretary as well as the police, and for the UK's police officers to be recognised for the work they do - not insulted in this way."

One officer said in an email to Mr Rowen: "I am writing to you as a serving police officer to express my anger and disgust at the underhanded behaviour displayed by the Home Secretary in reaction to the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal to award police officers a 2.5% pay increase. It appears that Jaqui Smith has performed a far from magical sleight of hand in which the 2.5% will not be back dated to 1st September but instead will be paid from the 1 December, thus representing an insulting 1.9% increase - a lower award than any other emergency service or public sector body in England and Wales. What justification can there be for this action? If ACPO and the APA think that 2.5% is affordable and should be backdated to 1st September then why doesn't the Home Secretary?"