The Police Federation has woken up and will seek the right for police officers to take industrial action. I'm really quite saddened it's come to this but there is little other option, now that the government is looking to do away with the Police Negotiating Board (PNB).
It's not greed people - we just want the existing agreement that's lasted since 1977 (until last year) to continue.
It puts each and every one of us in quite a position. I never became a police officer for the money. The money and allowances were OK but it really was a vocation for me. So why did I join?
I think it goes back till when I was just 16 and working in the big city. I was a naive lad and spent alot of time in and around what is and has always been a dodgy area. One day I was passing through a busy underpass. There was a scruffy bloke having some sort of altercation with a smartly dressed middle aged man. I don't know exactly what was going on but the middle aged bloke shouted "Somebody help me". There were dozens of people walking by, as the pass was connected to a train station. I stopped to see what was going on. I observed for several minutes and didn't know what to do, I was only a kid. Everybody ignored this bloke and kept on walking with their heads down. Eventually I too drifted away. Now, it might have been some over aggressive begging but this event worried me greatly. I should have intervened.
Obviously I needed to toughen up and would have been too immature to be a policeman. I'd been told that unless you were a police cadet you needn't apply until you were in your twenties. So a couple of years later I joined the army, always intending to apply for the police force. This was the best thing I could have done. When I left I was mature and grounded and able to deal with anything and anyone. I wouldn't walk away again.
You see my dilemma, the police are now being taken for granted and pushed into a corner. We are playing for high stakes. I don't want to strike, it goes against everything I've worked for over the years. I am however incensed with this dishonest government, who have done a very good job in dismantling what was a good institution. The same thing is being done to the armed forces, where the military covenant has been ignored.
It is therefore time to make a stand. If we win the right to strike I will support the federation and walk, to stop our policing tradition being totally destroyed.