'Majority' of Bristol police voted for right to strike
HUNDREDS of Avon and Somerset police officers voted in favour of having the right to strike in future.
Earlier this week, police federation members across England and Wales were balloted online as to whether they wanted their representatives to lobby the Government for industrial rights, including the legal right to strike for the first time.
Although a majority who voted said "yes", not enough people took part in the vote to achieve mandate.
In Avon and Somerset, 70 per cent of officers who took part – 879 – were in support of a lobby.
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The constabulary currently has about 3,000 officers. A total of 1,551 registered for the ballot, of which 1,259 voted.
Only officers up to the rank of chief inspector were eligible.
The National Police Federation had agreed that only if more than 50 per cent of its 130,000-plus members voted yes, would they then begin the lobbying process. Only 34 per cent of the total membership did so.
In recent months and years, the police have not only had to deal with funding cuts, but also recruitment pay freezes and the news that new PCs will be starting on a lower salary of £19,000 per year, down from £23,000.
Avon and Somerset Police Federation chairman Kev Phillips told The Post: "I think the result of the ballot sends a clear message to the national police federation as to where we should be going. It also sends a clear message to government about how police officers feel at the moment."
Mr Phillips voted, but would not say which way. He added: "In all my years' of service, I never thought I would see the day where police officers would be asked to vote on having industrial rights.
"Not getting the 50 per cent plus one voting yes is probably the worst result as it doesn't give us a clear mandate as to where we go next. I can see this issue coming back up again."
Out of the 133,108 officers eligible to vote nationally, only 56,333 (42 per cent) took part in the ballot, with 45,651 (81 per cent) voting in favour and 10,681 (19 per cent) voting against.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said: "I am pleased the vast majority of police officers do not want the right to strike – their work is too important."