"POLITICIANS are shaking hands with police officers, but with the other hand they are stabbing them in the back."

This is the stern message from John Apter, chief of the Hampshire Police Federation, who has blasted the government over its decision to keep a one per cent pay rise cap on the public sector.

Taking to social media yesterday, Mr Apter said this was a “golden opportunity” for Westminster to “put its money where its mouth is”.

He posted: “Over recent months, politicians from all parties have been praising work of the emergency services and this has been well received.

“(On Wednesday), the Labour Party put forward an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that would have seen an end to the cap being placed on public sector salary increases, which is currently one per cent.

“This was a golden opportunity for the Government to put its money where its mouth is and show genuine support for the hard working emergency service.

“To reject this vote is not only hypocrisy but also a kick in the teeth for those very emergency workers whom the Government has been praising.

“I am deeply offended that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have the audacity to look police officers in the eye and tell them how much of a great job they are doing.

“Politicians are shaking hands with police officers, but with the other hand they are stabbing them in the back.

“This is contemptible on so many levels and shows the deep disconnect between the Government and members of the emergency services.

“The impact of the pay freeze and pay cap is having a significant impact. As I have mentioned before, some officers are getting food vouchers from charities, others are struggling to pay their rent or their mortgage.

“This vote shows the Government is so out of touch and ignorant of reality.

“Not only did they vote against the opportunity to offer relief but when they do so they cheer and clap like it is some sort of celebration. It is disgraceful and will be seen as such by members of the public sector.”