Police union hit back at home secretary over pressures on service

Amber Rudd
Amber Rudd

The union which represents serving police officers in Lancashire has accused Home Secretary Amber Rudd of being in ‘cloud cuckoo land’ over the pressure on officers.

Rachel Hanley, chairman of the Lancashire branch of the Police Federation, made her remarks after Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott made their inaugural addresses to the Police Federation of England and Wales at their Annual Conference earlier this month.

She raised concern over the Home Secretary’s grasp of police duties beyond fighting crime, claiming she had ‘failed to heed officers’ warnings about how unprecedented levels of demand are making police officer’s jobs impossible, despite hearing the message multiple times.’

Mrs Hanley said: “She did not understand the demand issue at all, and she is still living in cloud cuckoo land if she thinks that it is all about crime. We know the reality of the situation is that 80 per cent of what we deal with is not crime-related; crime is just a very small part of it.

“Whether you agree with her figures that crime is up or down, it really doesn’t make any difference because that is not what is taking our time up – it is everything else apart from crime that is creating the demand.

“Should the Conservative Government get re-elected and she remain Home Secretary, Amber Rudd needs to get in the real world and get a reality check on what’s really going on out there. A lot of officers from round the country raised the issue, from small forces, big forces, rural forces. They were telling her that officers are crumbling, policing is broken and the service needs investment.”

Police have warned of a mounting crisis with officers dealing with more and more non crime-related issues.

Crime accounts for only 20 per cent of the calls received by Lancashire Police.

Officers spend far more of their time dealing with public safety, welfare and mental health issues.

Ms Rudd hailed a drop in crime figures during the conference

She said: “Crime is down by more than a third. That’s a record everyone in this room should be proud of.”

The Home Secretary has also accepted invitations from a number of forces to visit their area and see how much officers are struggling.

Mrs Hanley said: “She told us there was no scope for movement on the pay rise.”

Mrs Hanley has repeatedly raised concerns over the amount of pressure on police in Lancashire.

Last year the Police Federation posted images on social media showing half a dozen police cars parked outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has made repeated calls for more funding claiming police are picking up more and more work as a result of cuts to local authorities.

He says the force is now the service of ‘first resort’.