Dishonour in high office

Dishonour in high office

It goes without question that police officers must be scrupulously honest. In the Metropolitan Police Service, this philosophy is summed up in a short phrase which can seen on posters and stationery everywhere.

It reads: ?Integrity is Non-negotiable.?

And it is supported wholeheartedly by the Metropolitan Police Federation.

But we do not think it applies solely to police. Which is why we are joining our colleagues across the country in condemning Jacqui Smith for her lack of integrity over police pay and calling for her resignation.

The Federation?s current pay claim went ? as is quite right and proper ? to an independent arbitration panel following a failure to agree in ordinary negotiations.

It is a long-established practice that all sides accept the results of arbitration and police officers duly did so without murmur this year, despite the fact that the proposed award was well below their claim.

Jacqui Smith, however, had no intention of abiding by any ruling other than her own.

But it gets worse.

Why did she allow the whole arbitration process to go ahead when she already knew that she would attempt to impose a pay settlement without reference to anyone other than her co-conspirator Gordon Brown?

There can only be one explanation for this. She hoped that the arbitration panel would recommend an award at or below the level of the one she had already decided upon.

Then could have said to the police, with a twinkle in her eye: ?It?s not me, Guv!?

Unfortunately for her, it all went horribly wrong.

And, unbelievably, her deceit gets still worse.

Ms Smith has in her hands a report, commissioned by the Home Office itself, which recommends that in future police should stripped of their right to negotiate over pay at all.

She had promised consultation before deciding whether to accept the recommendation.

But a letter from the Home Office to the Treasury, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, reveals that she had secretly decided to go ahead and implement the recommendations.

The revelation has united the Police Federation, the Police Superintendents Association and the Association of Chief Police Officers in outrage.

She has demonstrated fundamental dishonesty in one of the highest offices in the land and thus forfeited the confidence of those to whom integrity cannot be anything else than non-negotiable.

We therefore support unequivocally the following statement from Jan Berry, Chairwoman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, to which the Met Federation is affiliated:

"Police officers across the United Kingdom have delivered a clear message to the Prime Minister. We no longer have any trust or faith in the abilities of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith dealing with our pay and conditions and she must go.

"This is not just about money; it is about treating police officers fairly and honouring the decision of the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal. By not honouring the deal the Home Secretary has betrayed the trust of all UK police officers.

"It's clear what needs to be done. Honour the deal in full or continue to feel the might and anger of police officers, the public and a growing number of politicians."