SHE has no intention of listening.
That was the damning accusation levelled at Home Secretary Theresa May by furious Hampshire police officers who say the police service is being torn apart by drastic 20 per cent cuts.
More than 1,200 officers from England and Wales packed in to the police federation conference in Bournemouth yesterday to hear what the minister had to say about multi-million pound cutbacks which
officers say are putting lives at risk.
But Mrs May found herself being heckled throughout her speech in which she told the audience that they needed to “stop pretending” they were being picked on. She said the severe cuts must be seen
through “for the good of the country”.
Mrs May addressed the conference six days after more than 30,000 officers and support staff - including 450 from the county - marched through the capital in protest at the cuts - which in Hampshire
amount to £54m over four years.
But Mrs May showed no emotion as she walked on stage to be greeted by officers standing and holding banners saying ''Cutting police by 20% is criminal'' and saying ''Enough is enough.''
She said the option of the right to strike was ''off the table'', adding: ''Keeping our communities safe is simply too important.''
The controversial Winsor Review - ordered by Mrs May, which recommends wideranging changes to police pay and conditions - was also greeted with anger but later cheers and applause as one police
federation member told her he thought she was “a disgrace”.
And she was heckled as she told rank and file officers that the changes to their wage packets were reforms that hard-working officers should welcome.
Speaking after Mrs may's speech, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation John Apter, said: “I am frustrated that the Home Secretary has no intention of listening to the rank and file. She has made
her position abundantly clear.
“We all accept that the police service must take its fair share of the pain, but we are two years into the budget cuts and the next two years are going to be even more difficult. We were looking
for a lifeline today but we have not got one.”