Mar 4 2013
Thousands of police officers in England and Wales have voted for the right to take industrial action following rows over spending cuts.
The Police Federation said a ballot of its 133,000 members showed 45,651 in favour and 10,681 against.
However, just under half of the federation's members took part in the ballot - not enough to seek a mandate under its rules.
Steve Williams, chairman of the federation, said: "A significant proportion of our membership has indicated that they want the right to take industrial action. This highlights the pressures currently felt by rank and file officers throughout England and Wales.
"However, it would not be appropriate to undertake a course of action that could potentially change the employment status of more than 133,000 police officers if fewer than half of those officers have voted for us to do so.
"Our members value their unique employment status as servants of the crown (the Office of Constable), and I believe the vast majority of them would view industrial action as a last resort. However, the significant number that voted in favour of the right to take industrial action have done so in response to the reforms and changes to policing which are being proposed and implemented by the Government, and the impact those changes are having on officers' ability to do their jobs and on their morale."
Mr Williams said the federation's central committee will now discuss the ballot result before deciding its next move.
Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) members were asked the question: "Do you wish for PFEW to seek the right for police officers to take industrial action?"
The federation's policy states that a clear mandate to seek industrial rights can only be provided by more than half of its total membership voting in favour. Federation officials said 20% cuts to policing, combined with "attacks" on pensions, pay and conditions, have resulted in a period of "unprecedented discontent and low morale" among police officers.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said: "I am pleased the vast majority of police officers do not want the right to strike - their work is too important. Our police have done a fantastic job to cut crime by 10% over the first two years of this Government, despite having to play their role in cutting the country's record deficit."