MPs: Police 'stabbed in the back' over pensions changes
Black Country MPs have rounded on the Government for 'stabbing police in the back' over new pensions plans they say will pile further misery onto Britain's over-stretched forces.
Pat McFadden has called a parliamentary debate over the proposed changes, which will see police forces having to stump up a greater proportion of pension contributions from 2019-20.
West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson has warned the move will cost his force £22 million and up to 500 officers, while the cost to Staffordshire Police is estimated at £6.6m.
Mr McFadden, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, is among those calling for the changes to be scrapped.
He said: "We have already lost 2,000 officers from the West Midlands police force in the past eight years.
"Dave Thomson has said that core aspects of policing are being pushed 'beyond sustainability' and violent crime is rising sharply.
“The last thing we need now is the government loading new pension costs onto already overstretched police budgets.
"The West Midlands Police estimates that the effect of these new pension costs could mean the loss of officers. It would be completely intolerable to ask the public to accept this on top of the cuts in police numbers that have taken place in recent years.
“With rising violent crime and increased public concern about crime, the Government must fund our police force properly.
"People deserve the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear of crime but right now that freedom is being eroded by the double whammy of rising crime and cut in police numbers.”
The National Police Chiefs Council has threatened to sue the Government if the plans are pushed through, arguing the changes will cost forces in England and Wales £417 million by 2020/21, putting 10,000 jobs on the line.
In Parliament this week Police Minister Nick Hurd prompted a furious response from Labour MPs by suggesting forces were exaggerating the scale of the problems they faced over pensions.
Commenting on concerns over job losses he said: "I think the number is exaggerated which is not unusual for the police."
Warley MP John Spellar said: “It was absolutely jaw-dropping to witness the Minster of State for Policing of all people stand up in Parliament and attack our dedicated police forces.
“Policing might not be an issue for Eton-educated Tory Toffs like Hurd in the leafy London suburbs – but it is a huge issue for hard-working folk in the West Midlands who are sick of seeing criminals take control of their streets as the police struggle with falling numbers.
“The police need our support and resources – both financial and legislative – to lock up the criminals, they don’t need to be stabbed in the back by Ministers.”
The debate is scheduled for November 14.