THESE ARE vital times for Essex Police. According to Joint Chair of the Essex Police Federation, Tony Rayner, Essex Police under Operation Apex, spent the last few years, being re-shaped, so that hundreds of extra police officers could be employed. The benefits of that were increased manning, not just of street patrols but of squads including Fraud, Serious Crime, Sexual Investigation and Road Traffic to ensure the people of Essex had a police force fit for the twenty-first century.
To Tony and his colleagues horror and dismay, the force is now faced with massive budget cuts of £55 million and that may mean four hundred police officers and a thousand civilians could go.
It is clear that Tony’s beef is not with the Essex Chief Constable but with the Essex Police Authority (EPA) which has led to the Federation tabling a vote of no confidence in the EPA.
Will this lead to strikes? No. The police, since the General Strike of 1926, have not been allowed to strike but it may lead to marches and it may lead to unrest.
Crime is on the increase and is about to bite deeper as the recession intensifies.
Some are greatly suprised that the cuts have come to the police’s door. Margaret Thatcher knew the value of a contented police force. A review of police pay and conditions came into force, the year she became Prime Minister in 1979 and their support was vital throughout the 1980’s.
YourThurrock spoke to Tony Rayner about the mood in the ranks and where Essex Police go from here.