Friday, December 21, 2007

Chief Constable's snub to Home Secretary

Christmas is meant to be the season of goodwill, and I usually try to avoid any kind of political criticism from Advent to Epiphany.

For example, residents of Bransty and Harbour wards who recieve the "Christmas card leaflet" which I and my colleagues are currently putting round with a Christmas message and some seasonal information will note that it doesn't contain a single word of criticism of our political opponents. That's because this just isn't the time for such criticism.

Consequently, the action of the chief constable of Cumbria in refusing to pass on the Home Secretary's Christmas message to his force, on the grounds that it might have a negative effect on their morale, is not the sort of tactic which I would want to see become routine.

But having said that, I really cannot blame him. If you are going to ban a group of workers from striking, and instead set up an independent review panel to set their pay, you are going to look mean, and petty if you fail to keep your side of the bargain by honouring the panel recommendations.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has shown disrespect which almost verges on contempt for the police by her handling of their pay review. The panel recommended a 2.5 per cent pay rise. But the Home Secretary has cut that to 1.9 per cent by not paying the increase for September, October or November.

Frankly, this is no way to treat the police force of this country.

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