Hundreds of off-duty officers join in protest
A FIFTH of Avon and Somerset's police officers joined a massive demonstration against cuts.
Around 600 police men and women spent their leave day in London yesterday, marching to protest against spending cuts and changes to their pay and pensions.
They were among more than 20,000 off-duty officers who joined the Police Federation-organised demonstration.
Wearing baseball caps with the words "cuts are criminal", the officers accused the Government of putting public safety at risk with reductions to police budgets.
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The Post joined them as they marched along Whitehall in central London, where they were applauded by Metropolitan Police officers who were monitoring the event.
Andy Roebuck, an inspector based in the operations department in North Bristol, said: "These are very important issues, and show a serious lack of understanding about policing on the part of the government.
"After over 20 years in the police service, I am concerned about the future of policing. We are losing officers, and each force is being stretched incredibly thin. I am concerned about the level of resilience in policing."
Offices are angry about a review of their pay and conditions by former rail regulator Tom Winsor, as well as 20 per cent cuts to police budgets.
Avon and Somerset officers of ranks up to chief inspector took part in the demonstration.
Kev Phillips, of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said it had been a "fantastic" turn-out, adding that chief constable Colin Port had indicated his support.
He said: "These people are prepared to give their rest days to come to London and show how much they care."
Home Secretary Theresa May will address the federation's conference next week.
Mr Phillips added: "They have kicked, robbed and beaten us."
Policing Minister Nick Herbert wrote an open letter to all officers telling them he and the Home Secretary were "constantly impressed by the work you do for your communities" but insisting that "all organisations have to keep pace with the modern world".