Police officers angry with the coalition government’s plans to cut jobs and freeze pay will vote on whether they want the right to be able to arrest themselves for obstruction during their own strike action, the body representing them said on Thursday.
The Police Federation, which represents 135,000 low ranking officers in England and Wales, said the move to seek the right to kettle themselves during their own industrial action, showed its members were infuriated by the government’s austerity drive.
Like all public sector workers, police officers are facing a pay freeze and higher pension contributions and many believe the time is now right for officers to seek the right to allow themselves to prevent themselves from policing themselves on strike.
A Police Federation spokesman explained:
Officers genuinely feel we need the right to not police ourselves if we decide to go on strike. Or indeed not to police ourselves if we don’t decide to go on strike. Especially if we’re on strike. Or not, as the case may be.
However, even if members vote for the right to not police their own strike, the change would require the law to be amended and could be blocked by parliament for being too confusing.
A government spokesperson explained the legal and technical problems to allowing the police to take strike action:
It could turn out that the strikers would have to police the police or the other way round or something and that could create a situation where no-one would know what the f*** was going on, so it would be best all round if the police just continued their previous policy of attacking anyone they see on the street who looks a bit lefty without asking any questions.
In a partial climbdown, a government-commissioned report into police pay and conditions last week recommended wide-ranging changes which would allow serving officers to arrest themselves for obstruction, hit themselves on their heads with their own truncheons and taser each other.
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