The police find themselves in a strange place at the moment yo-yoing up and down between positive and negative press. Now I admit I’m a little biased when it comes to the police in this country. My father was a police officer serving for many years and I worked for the Police in a civilian role.
I know there are more reasons that usual to have our confidence dented in the police, when you here stories about Hillsborough cover-ups, known child-grooming gangs left untackled for decades and other occasions when political correctness has won over upholding the laws of the land. But there are two news items this week that should make us stop and think.
Today we know the winners of The Police Bravery Awards 2014. In an age where people win awards for being ‘the sexiest male’ these exceptional winners were given awards for ‘officer who arrested man with bomb’, ‘officer who stopped human fireball on petrol forecourt’ and ‘lone officer who confronted vicious armed attacker.’
At the same time an interview with Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley set out very plainly that with 218 terrorism related arrests made this year, there are many more new people on the ‘terrorism radar.’ Each plot against us, as Rowley put it, means ‘foiling complex conspiracies’ with the sub-plot clearly being that they’re getting stretched.
I wish I could say this situation was unique to the police; but it just isn’t. Like many frontline services, more and more is asked from fewer people who put themselves forward to help others.
Professions such as our fire service, military, security services, nurses, and midwives, who went on strike for the first-time ever this week over pay. I have to say it certainly speaks volumes when midwives working their actual hours on a work-to-rule will cause a headache for managers!
So come on, we know that they are highly skilled and dedicated to their love of the job but that doesn’t mean we keep on squeezing as much as we can out of people for as little in return, or salary, as possible whilst overseeing expensive choices elsewhere (MPs salaries anyone…).
And while I’m at it, Jeremy Hunt saying that midwives couldn’t have a 1% pay-rise, as recommended by an independent review, because analysis showed it meant 4000 nurse redundancies, left me unusually shouting at the TV. Man-up! You’re the Health Secretary for goodness sake- if you wanted you could find the money from some other pot. The real answer I suspect is that he didn’t want to start a domino effect across the public sector.
The bottom-line is our frontline professionals are providing invaluable services to this country. Are they always part of a perfect organisation, no – but who is? Are the vast majority struggling in their own ways and deserve more? I for one think so.
Lorraine Hill-Scott, BRIT POLITICS Managing Editor