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'May's contempt and disdain for policing no secret'

PFEW chairman launches blistering attack as PM steps down
Published - 07/06/2019 By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle

Police Federation Chairman John Apter thought "long and hard" before releasing a statement criticising Prime Minister Theresa May as her reign came to an end. 

Mrs May officially stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party and PM today but will remain in charge until her successor is announced next month. 

And PFEW chairman Mr Apter did not hold back when giving his thoughts on the former Home Secretary who accused rank and file of "crying wolf" after they warned her of the damage continued cuts could do to the service.

He said: "Let’s be honest here - for the majority of police officers it has not come a day too soon.

"Mrs May has made no secret of her thoughts on policing – her contempt and disdain for the profession has been vocal and sustained during her time as Home Secretary, and then throughout her tenure as Prime Minister. Her actions have been devastating for policing, genuinely devastating. 

"I hold Theresa May personally responsible for the fact that policing is on its knees – it’s been personal for her, and it has been incredibly damaging."

Mr Apter recalled the Fed's conference in 2015 when the then Home Secretary gave her dismissive response to genuine concerns from rank and file over continued Tory cuts.   

He added: "The Home Secretary accused us of ‘Crying Wolf’ and scaremongering. Her speech was an attack - you didn’t have to hear her words you just had to watch her. It was a very personal and insulting attack which demonstrated her utter contempt for policing and those who deliver it. 

"Since that infamous speech, it’s been proven that those police officers whose warnings were ignored were right - Mrs May got it spectacularly wrong, although to this day she has not accepted any responsibility. Her arrogance is astounding.

"My colleagues, those dedicated and professional police officers, who every day serve the people her government has a duty to protect, have been derided, demoralised and seen our service decimated to a point where even HM’s Inspectorate of Constabulary acknowledged that it is only the hard work and positive attitude of officers that keeps the police service from breaking point."

Since 2010 police forces acorss England and Wales have lost almost 22,000 officers – an 18 per cent real-term reduction in spending on policing.

Mr Aprter continued: "Let me tell you what those numbers actually mean: officers so stressed because their additional workload is affecting their physical and mental health; officers so stretched they can’t get to 999 calls on time; officers needing food vouchers or payday loans in order to make ends meet; my colleagues vilified for not investigating every crime and being expected to answer for policy decisions made in the Westminster ‘bubble’ by people with no concept of what it is like in the real world.

"As the Prime Minister moves on she leaves a police service which is broken. Her legacy is nothing to be proud of. 

"I am passionate about policing, I care about it and that’s why, despite the damage caused, I have to have hope that the next leader will be different. Whoever the new Prime Minister is, I want them to work with us to ensure policing gets a fair hearing."

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