I have lost track of the amount of times I have heard this said lately. I go into one of my customary rants regarding the way the government are treating the Police and people’s eyes glaze over. “why bother?” they ask. “the government aren’t going to back down.” they say. There are so many people acting like we are wasting our time even bothering. Perhaps the most infuriating thing is the fact that so many of them are those who are young in service. The very people who should still be up for the fight. The people who stand to lose the most if the government force through the proposed changes to our terms and conditions.
A common question is “what are the fed doing about it?” well, as many know, I don’t make excuses for the Fed, or defend them where it’s not warranted, but the thing is they are doing plenty. They arranged the very successful march in London. 35’000 people marched. The transport and expenses of a large number of these was paid for by the Fed. They have made representations to government. They have sent out program letters to send to MP’s. They have sent open letters and held press conferences and they showed their disapproval at conference.
Our problem is not the Fed. It’s apathy. 35’000 people turned up for the march. Such a huge number. Certainly the majority of off duty officers in the country. As well as many non Police supporters. Families, friends, support staff and just people who dislike the changes being forced through with no mandate by this government. Yet, despite this huge number of people, at the time of writing this, only 18’000 people have signed the Epetition to reject Winsor 2.
18’000 out of an organisation with 135’000 members. This government must be absolutely over the moon. We are proving them right. They can almost legitimately say that there are135’000 of us yet only 18’000 reject the report! It’s embarrassing. I have yet to speak to a Police officer who approves of the Winsor report. Yet only 13% of our number can be bothered to give up 2 minutes of their time to sign an epetition!
Some federations have circulated the Epetition. But, amazingly, some federations have not even emailed their members asking them to sign. It has not been officially circulated. We are talking about a ballot on the right to strike yet we haven’t even been able to sign an Epetition.
Now I know it is not the best written Epetition. I realise that there are some who may feel that it would be better if there was a better worded version. But the fact is that the website does not allow more than one Epetition supporting the same proposal. Like it or not this is the Epetition that got started. It has 18’000 signatures already attached. It is the closest thing we have. I don’t think for a second that this government will see that we have 100’000 signatures and just decide to scrap the whole thing. That will not happen.
But, when we get the 100’000 signatures, it will be debated in the commons. This is a weak coalition. We have raised some excellent arguments. If it is debated and just a few people dissent the government will be on the Back foot. At the very least it will get publicity. It will show the strength of feeling. It will keep the momentum. We will be able to say to the public when we ballot to strike that we tried everything. That the ballot was a last resort.
I think it has got to the point where trusting people to motivate themselves to sign the Epetition has not worked. We all work in stations with strong characters. We all have shift leaders. People who can get things done. We need to be raising this amongst ourselves. Asking our colleagues if they’ve signed. If not we need to be asking them why they are letting their colleagues down. If they disagree and they think Winsor is great then fine. I’d be surprised but everybody is entitled to their opinion. But we need to shake up the apathetic. Furthermore we need to be asking friends, neighbours, family to sign. If they don’t have a computer let them use your smartphone. Have a word with your Fed rep. If your Fed aren’t officially circulating it then ask them why not.
We are fighting to save the job. The rank of constable and the future of Policing in this country. Please stop waiting for somebody to take the lead. Be that person. Have a word. Ask colleagues. Give them a push. Be as annoying as me. Let’s get it signed.