AROUND 35,000 off-duty police officers from forces throughout England and Wales marched through London last Thursday – the same day as public sector unions Unite, PCS and UCU were staging their third one-day national strike over pension cuts.
The police were protesting at Con-Dem Coalition cuts of 20 per cent to police force budgets, which will result in job cuts and wage cuts, and against creeping privatisation of traditional police functions.
It is against the law for police to take strike action; otherwise the numbers attending would have been far greater. Thousands who had to be on duty that day sent messages of support.
Among those leading the march were the recently resigned former Chief Constable of Glamorgan, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Keith Vaz, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee,
The march was joined and supported by members of the Occupy campaign.
Prison officers also took part in the 10th May Day of Action by public sector workers with a series of unofficial protest meetings – in defiance of the law which also bars them from striking.
The Prison Officers’ Association claims that more than 80 per cent of its 25,000 members supported the stoppages until a threatened injunction forced them back to work
A POA spokesperson said: “This has been a great success in raising the public's awareness to the inherent dangers that the coalition government's policy change will bring to the prison service in the future."