Police strike ballot a 'sad' sign

The decision to ballot officers over the right to strike is "a very sad time for British policing", according to the West Midlands Police Federation.

Representatives from West Midlands, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia police forces met to discuss asking for the right to strike.

Chairman Ian Edwards said police are "under a deliberate and sustained attack" from the government.

The Home Office said police must "play their part" in finding savings.

Police officers are currently banned by law from taking industrial action.

'Pay restraint'

The Police Federation is balloting its 135,000 members nationwide asking if they want full industrial rights.

It follows 20% budget cuts and proposals for major changes to pay and conditions.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We must tackle the deficit and police forces need to play their part in making savings.

"We believe this can be done while protecting front-line services, but as with other public services pay restraint is a necessary part of this."

The proposals of the independent Winsor review into police pay would be considered carefully, ensuring the remuneration and status of police officers continues to reflect "the important work they do", the spokesman added.

West Midlands Police Federation conducted a poll of its members and said that, within 24 hours, more than 1,200 officers had responded with 92% in favour of seeking the right to strike.

Andy Adams, an officer with Staffordshire Police, said the proposed cuts were "the straw that has broken the camel's back".

He said: "The only opportunity we have is to seek the full industrial rights, which obviously includes the right to strike, and that's to fire back at the government and these dramatic cuts and changes they are intent on pushing through."

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