We’re Not Gonna Take It

A rare treat for you, a musical blog.

David Camoron, we’ve had enough, WE’RE not gonna take it any more, and if you don’t do something about it you may find the results at the ballot box next May.

I know you’ve been busy, I saw you on my telly box at Stonhenge the other day. Have you become a Druid? When you’re not busy being busy I invite you to take a look around you;

On Tuesday we had the announcement that PCSOs and Police Staff ACROSS THE COUNTRY had voted to take strike action.

In the not too distant past we have had lawyers on strike bringing chaos to the Courts, do you remember that?

Teachers have been striking.

Local Councils have been striking.

Fire Brigades across the country have been striking, and indeed (I believe) some of them have lost their jobs over it.

Health Service workers have been striking.

Probation Officers have been striking.

Prison Officers have been threatening strike action.

Public sector workers from courts, museums, driving test centres, Job Centres, airports and other facilities have all been striking.

Do you want to know why all these, normally loyal and law-abiding people have been striking? Well, I’ll tell you anyway.  It’s all to do with your Pay Restrictions, messing with people’s pensions and your dangerous privatisation plans.

If you add up all of those people either striking, threatening or contemplating strike action it would come to a very big number indeed.  What on earth would you do if they all chose to strike on the same day? Once you’d summoned COBRA or RATTLESNAKE or whatever it’s called you’d panic because you would then be told that there weren’t enough Police Officers left to deal with the problem.  Plan B, call in the Army. Ooips, can’t do that either, same reason, got rid of too many already.  Maybe the French could let you have some CRS Troops on Mutual Aid, after all, the Mayor of Calais is asking for British Police to go and sort out the carnage with illegal immigrants there.  Oh how I laughed at that one.

Police and Armed Forces aren’t allowed to go on strike, so you’re reasonably safe there. Although I am informed that we are the only country in the EU that does not give our Police Officers Employment Rights.

Maybe you could explain to us exactly why it is that you politicians are reluctantly accepting your generous pay and pension awards?  If the problem is that the law doesn’t a;;ow you to decline them, then maybe you’ve got enough time left in the government to change the law, to make it lawful. After all, you managed to do that with so many public sector pensions, why not your own? #JustAsking.

While you’re at it, in the week that another 5 years of Austerity has been announced, more cuts, 5 more years of no, or inconsequential, pay rises, how is that we have money to spare to drive a road tunnel underneath Stonehenge? Could that money not have been better spent elsewhere? #JustAsking

Does none of this bother you? Are you even aware of the carnage you’re causing? Silly question, you must be.

In 2010 we were fooled, many of us voted Tory but got lumbered with a toxic coalition that nobody had voted for.  Many of us will not make that mistake again, we won’t be fooled by your insincere rhetoric.  Maybe you don’t get it, but many of us have seen through what you’re doing. We may be small in number but your own actions and those of your ridiculous collection of ministers is doing our work for us. You are spreading the word yourselves. More and more people are realising what you’re doing.

WE Won’t Get Fooled Again


RIP Keef & The Ox

Theresa May’s Belated Christmas Present

So yesterday our revered Home Secretary, Theresa May,  published her plans for the future of Police pay, and what wonderful plans they are.

If I understand it correctly the starting pay for a newly recruited Constable has been cut by £4,000 (or 17%) to £19,000 although PCCs and/or Chief Constables will have the discretion to add on regional payments of up to £3,000 on top, bringing the staring pay up to a maximum of £22,000.

Additionally the £1,000 ‘Grab a Grand’ Competence-Related Threshold payments are to be phased out, as expected, but it’s not all bad news, oh no, you will now get a £15 on-call allowance.

I missed it originally, but according to the Daily Mail, Theresa May’s Christmas Bonus includes this little-reported peach as well “Controversially, if officers work for the Met, but travel in from counties such as Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, they may not receive the full entitlement of ‘London weighting’ for the first time”  (Click on text for full article)

Unlike some of our politicians, I don’t live in a bubble, I like to think that I live somewhere close to the real world.  I have read the comments in the press, the Grauniad is a particularly fine source, and it’s fair to say that not all of the great British public are sympathetic with the police over their pay being shafted in such a cruel manner.  Some are positively in favour of pay and allowances being cut.  The main issues which seem to me to be at the root of this lack of sympathy are the obvious ones of Hillsborough, Plebgate etc etc re-quoted ad nauseum as valid reasons why the Police should not be better paid etc.  These incidents will be investigated and hopefully wrong-doers will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

Let us be quite clear.  I do not support or sympathise with any officer guilty of malpractice of any kind in these oft-quoted incidents, but they are NOT the majority.  The vast majority are good, hard-working, honourable lads and lasses with great integrity.

Anyway, I did a little bit of research to put these latest pay cuts into perspective, and I do not claim that it was extensive research, but anyone who is friends with Mr Google can do the same, and I would be grateful for some info from the Fed or PCS/Unison.

I have no idea what the proposals are (if any) for the starting pay of PCSOs.   Maybe someone can enlighten me, but a quick tour of the interweb reveals that their starting pay is not fixed, it varies from Force to Force.  The figures for PCSO starting pay quoted in the PAT document are £16,551 to £21,780, the latter figure relating to the Met.  There is not a huge difference between £16,551 and £19,000 when one considers the different levels of training and qualifications needed to join as a regular officer.  And then it got a bit worse.

The Met’s own website contains the following information relating to THEIR PCSO salaries

The current annual pay for a PCSO working full time and shifts is:

Basic = £20,894

Shift allowance = £2,612 (12.5%) or £3,134 (15%) or £4,179 (20%)

Location allowance = £3,466 (Zone 1) or £1,883 (Zone 2).

On occasion, you may be required to work overtime. You will have the option of payment at time and a half or, where possible, time off in lieu.

Therefore a PCSO working a 20% shift pattern in Zone 1 (Central London) will start on £28,539.

The other issue that concerns me greatly is CORRUPTION.

I do not want to see our great service go back to the bad old days.   I don’t care what anyone says, I do not believe that any Police Service, including the Met, is riddled with corruption, but it cannot be ignored.  If the government continually chip away at officers’ take-home pay, decreased starting salaries, abolition of competency payments, increased pension contributions etc etc, then I can quite see how corruption might raise it’s ugly head once more.

And make no mistake, the days of your archetypal corrupt officer being the sweaty DS/DI with 25 yrs service and a fag hanging out of the corner of his mouth are gone, long gone.  The profile of the ‘corrupt officer’ has shifted.  Uniformed Constables with less than 5 years service, savvy in IT make up a large slice of a small pie.  There are still not many corrupt officers, of that I am sure, but let’s not put in place a system that encourages more.  I know Theresa May isn’t going to read this blog, and even if she did, she wouldn’t take a blind bit of notice of it because she’s too arrogant (allegedly) to take notice of a humble bloggist, she has highly paid advisers for that.  Let us not forget, however, that in the background MPs are clamouring for a 32% pay RISE.  We still haven’t forgiven them for their expenses scandal, and I’m not even convinced that has gone way yet.

I cannot get my head round the unspeakable arrogance of a government that can slash public services, not just the police, in the manner in which they are and then have the temerity to ask for a 32% increase in their own pay.  They are public servants too are they not?  Maybe they will be reminded of that at the next General Election.  Police Officers have very long memories.

Rant over, carry on.