A Blog about my motivation to join the #AntiWinsorNetwork.
I’m just an ordinary person. My life has thankfully been very ordinary. I have no allegiance to any political party, I’ve never protested. I’m a very private person, I’ve never before publicly supported any cause – some might say I’m a little boring – hey I don’t even have a Facebook account.
So WHY have I suddenly taken to Twitter in support of the Police and against Winsor reforms.
Things you need to know:-
- I am married to a Police Officer and am proud to support him.
- I have achieved what I have in life through hard work and support from my partner.
- Since becoming a mother in 2001 I’ve worried a lot more about life and what sort of society my daughter will grow up in.
I met my partner in the mid 80’s (1984) he wasn’t in the Police. Shortly after he announced his plans to join the Police. Great I thought that’s a good career, he was in the services (Navy) when I met him, it will suit him well – and it has. Then in the early 90s we got married and I became the ‘wife’ of a Police Officer. It’s not something I usually shout about.
The only time I’ve put my head above the parapet questioning the job was in the late 90s thinking about starting a family and recognizing the stress of my partners job at the time, I was driven to writing to the then Chief Constable of his force questioning their ‘Investors in People’ commitment and support of family life. My husband was taken aside and ‘spoken’ to about my letter, but as he pointed out then, he didn’t write the letter so if they had a problem with what had been done they should speak directly to me – we might be married but that doesn’t make us 1 person!
Like many we’ve been caught up in the day to day things of life, juggling work and family and suddenly here I am all these years later waiting for him to complete his 30 years service (only 4 more years to go – yes I’m counting down).
We’ve planned for this and based important financial decisions on 30 years of service …… I’ve put up with the reality of being the partner of a Police Officer for long enough!
- I’ve put up with the shift work. When I was expecting my daughter the other expectant mothers thought I was a single mother due to the clash of shifts with the early evening timing.
- I’ve got used to 1 weekend in 4 off and shiftwork and the impact this has on any kind of social and family life.
- I’ve got used to pacing the floor when an hour after end of shift he’s not arrived home and your mind starts to think the worst (at least communication is easier now with mobile phones).
- I’m aware that he’s never off duty – I can remember at least 2 occasions when he’s had to intervene as a warranted officer during rare family days out – one with a shoplifter and 1 with someone ‘high’ walking in the middle of the road into the path of cars who we came across whilst walking our dog with friends.
- I’ve got used to juggling my work around shifts and childcare.
- I accepted that rest days sometimes have to be re-rostered or leave cancelled when something occurs which requires Officers to step up and do what’s needed.
I knew things would be like this and have accepted and supported him for 26 years in the job – my partner does not do an ‘ordinary’ job – when booking on he doesn’t know what his shift will hold. Like all couples we talk about our ‘workday’, so I know firsthand the reality of his job. I’m not looking for sympathy it’s just the nature of the job.
So why am I suddenly publicly standing up and tweeting about his job and the Police reforms.
I know the UK has been (and perhaps still is) in Recession
My partner and I work, pay our taxes, our pension contributions and bills and from what’s left try not to live beyond our means.
We are contributing to Society him as a Police Officer and myself as a ‘business owner’.
We do not expect anyone to take care of us but need to be realistic that a Police Officer has higher risks than many jobs of injury, disability or worst.
Here’s my understanding – and excuse me if it is too simplistic but someone once told me : KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart…..
The current Government has identified the need for cuts across public service budgets – Mr Cameron gave a speech in 2006 regarding his vision for policing and since coming into power in the coalition government Mr Tom Winsor has been appointed to carry out a review.
The Winsor review proposes radical changes to Policer Officer terms and conditions and pensions and appears to mirror much of Mr Cameron’s 2006 speech content. Proposed changes will apply to new Officers but also importantly those currently in the job.
Police Officers are not being seen as a group to be treated as a ‘special case’ when considering reform despite the following:-
- They hold the Queens warrant and are not allowed to strike
- A Police Officer has higher risks than many jobs of injury, disability or worst.
- A Police Officer is never off duty
It’s my understanding, and I’d be delighted to be corrected if it’s not the case, that the proposed reforms include:
- If an officer is unfit to do the role (injured on duty and no longer able to work for instance) they can be sacked.
- 30 years service is being changed with Officers needing to work longer until retirement. (so at 60 if they are not fit for active duty can they be sacked ?)
- Increased pension contributions for the same final package
There is a lot more detail this is just a snapshot of the highlights for me. I have been tweeting for weeks that we should ‘value our police’ and that Police Officers do not have an ‘ordinary job’ and I’m wholly supportive that if these changes do come into effect then Police Officers should be given the same employment rights as the rest of us which includes the ‘Right to Strike’ .
I worry that one day they will be able to strike if the job is treated as an ‘ordinary’ one but in reality that’s easy to prevent:-
This Government should Respect that Police Officers are public servants who have a special role in Society and it’s not an ordinary job and introduce reforms that take this into consideration.
Do this and the Right to Strike is no longer an issue.
I persuaded my husband to write personally to our MP seeking her views on the proposed policing reforms so we would know which party to support when exercising our right to vote in the future. In her email response our MP, Caroline Dineage stated :-
“I believe that the reforms are fair and necessary for the taxpayer and the country. My own brother is a police officer (Portsmouth) so please be assured that this is a matter very close to my heart. I’m sure that even he would agree that the level of police pensions, pay and conditions is simply not sustainable…….” C J Dineage Gosport MP, 13th April 2012.
Before receiving this I hadn’t thought about using ‘family’ to support policy or views but on this occasion if it’s good enough for MPs then it’s good enough for me. My relationship to a Police Officer is explained above and here is my policy….
If you are related to a Police Officer you will know the reality of the job and understand the impact of the changes. Stand up and show your support to Police Officers in their fight against Winsor Reforms.
Write to your MP and start spreading the message #Antiwinsornetwork – Stronger together.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.
Picture courtesy of @LegoCop “he’s a Cop not a Graphic Designer”