David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Friday, September 21, 2012

Great Britain in shock over murder of two unarmed policewomen

Officers serving with Greater Manchester Police have said they have been overwhelmed with the support shown to them after the killings of two much-loved colleagues.

They said the force had received some 25,000 entries in its online book of condolence plus 19,000 messages on Facebook and 1,000 received via Twitter after the deaths of PC Nicola Hughes (23 and pictured right) and 32-year-old PC Fiona Bone.

As reported on PoliceOracle.com both officers, who were unarmed, were shot dead as they responded to a report of a burglary in Hattersley on September 18.

A number of shots were fired and a grenade was also used during the attack. PC Bone was killed at the scene while her colleague died later in hospital. Post mortem examinations have since concluded that both died from gunshot wounds.

A short time later, 29-year-old Dale Cregan surrendered himself at a police station in Tameside. He was arrested on suspicion of murdering the officers as well as two other men, David and Mark Short, in earlier separate incidents.

A minute silence was observed across GMP on September 19 exactly 24 hours after the killings. Football players also wore black armbands during their evening matches.

Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said he had drawn comfort from the huge support that the force had received from police professionals and the wider public.

Sir Peter told reporters: “Our main priority at the moment is to do everything we can to support the families of Nicola and Fiona, who have an incredible amount to come to terms with. Our thoughts remain with them.

“The whole force is devastated by the deaths of Nicola and Fiona, but to know at this difficult time that the public supports what the police do and feel so strongly about the sacrifice of these two officers, is hugely important to us.

“Our investigation into these two deaths is ongoing. We will continue to ensure that anyone that was involved is brought to justice for what they have done.”

In the latest updates on the murder probe, the force confirmed it had been granted additional time to speak to Cregan, who will stay in custody until September 22.

The force has also said that a 28-year-old man arrested on September 19 in the Hattersley area on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder is still being questioned.

In addition, police are investigating the circumstances around the original call to GMP to report the crime the officers attended.

Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com

Postscript: Dale Cregan appeared in Court today, Friday 21st. Sept charged with murdering the two officers and with two additional murders. He was remanded in custody to appear again at a later date.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Police Morale Plummets to New Depths

Many police officers will face the prospect of paying more in contributions and working longer.

Officers have reacted with fury to the news that most bobbies will have to work longer and pay more in monthly contributions to receive a full police pension.

The government announced on September 4 that, from 2015, a new “career average” scheme will replace the current final salary scheme and a new “normal” pension age of 60 will be introduced.

As expected, average member contributions will increase to 13.7 per cent.

Steve Trigg, Chairman of South Wales Police Federation, accused the government of being “unjust and immoral” in its changes.

He said: “This is quite disgraceful. We are a workforce with no employment rights and we have been forced into a situation where we can only voice our protest but take no other action. This government has failed our officers.”

A PC from Cheshire Police, who asked not to be named, added: “With the changes to pay and now pensions, I feel like I would earn more if I was on benefits.

“By 2015, with childcare costs, increased pension costs and a rise in cost of living I will be paying out more than I have coming in. The way this government are treating us disgusts me.”

Unlike pay, officers have no power of negotiation with the government where pensions are concerned. The Home Office can simply impose its wishes after consultation.

Andy Tempest-Mitchell, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “Officers expect a reasonable pension as a payback for the huge restrictions that are placed on them in their private lives and the strict discipline code they are expected to adhere to.

“Policing is an arduous occupation and can take its toll over the years – the pension which is fully paid for is a reward for the intensity of a police career. You cannot expect officers to be working in the front-line into their 60s and beyond.”

The government also announced that there will be no change in pension age or amount received at current pension age for those who, at April 1 this year, were aged 45 or over.

There is also no change for those who are members of the 1987 Police Pension Scheme, aged 38 or over and 10 years or less away from being able to retire with a maximum 30-year pension.

Ian Hanson, Chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: “This whole episode was about damage limitation from day one and although what has been released by the government is far from good news, it is better than the original plan.

“We have managed to secure concessions that improve the position for many more police officers than was originally planned. We have had to be realistic and acknowledge that our pensions were going to be reformed regardless of what we did.”

Paul McKeever, national Police Federation Chairman, said: “Despite being disappointed with aspects of this announcement, Staff Side [of the Police Negotiating Board] accepts it within the context of the government’s wider public service pension’s reform agenda.”

Above article courtesy of - Royston Martis - www.policeoracle.com

Addendum -  I wholeheartedly agree with the following comments added by a retired officer:-

I like the bit about "it could have been much worse"

Boys and Girls, you have been shafted right up the "wrong un". I'm lucky to have retired a few years ago and I genuinely feel very sorry for those officers affected by this. The job is still the same job and always will be. The big difference (and it will only get worse) is that you are now led by spineless donkeys whose main aim is to climb the greasy pole and politicians who have no real understanding of what you do.I joined as a Cadet in 1978 and I'm old enough to remember when cops were leaving in there droves due to poor pay and conditions. The Tory government were forced to bring in the recommendations of the Edmund Davies report and the bobbies were then paid a decent salary. It now appears to have gone full circle. No one ever joins the cops to get rich. It really is a vocational occupation and after 30 years of being one of society's street sweepers, you would expect a decent pension (that you have paid for!) and the knowledge that you will have time to enjoy it. (with a bit of luck) I wouldn't like to put a PC requires assistance shout up knowing that a couple of 60+ officers (who may have been quite handy in there younger days) were my only get out of jail card.

Just remember though folks, the vast majority of the public are silently behind you. You need to let them know how angry you are and ask them to stand behind you. Then watch as the politicians squirm and backtrack.

Good luck and stay safe.....

My personal view is that, whilst accepting that in these days of severe fiscal austerity changes may be necessary, major structural changes such as those being implemented to the police pension scheme should be restricted to new recruits only who will have the choice to join or not to as the case may be. It strikes me as being grossly unfair that officers who joined under an agreed contract several years ago should now have their terms and conditions of service drastically altered midway through their service. I would have been mortified if that had occurred way into my 33 years of service.

Can you imagine if that was proposed for the gold plated pensions of members of parliament and government ministers what their reaction would be ? I also feel strongly that the retirement age for police officers should be no more than 55 with the added option of electing to continue to 60 for those who are fit enough to serve on the frontline and wish to do so.  The reckless spending of previous governments coupled with the debacle of the bankers acting without integrity have brought this financial mess upon us. Now the police service who cannot take strike action against such an injustice have become a soft target for the government in trying to redress the fiscal budget. It it high time the Police Federation used the subscriptions of its members to fight these draconian measures in the highest courts in the land and not just sit back and accept it as fait accompli.