British police officers angry with the coalition government’s plans to cut jobs and freeze pay will vote on whether they want the right to strike, the body representing them said on March 22.
The Police Federation, which represents 135,000 ordinary “bobbies” and low ranking officers in England and Wales, said the move to seek full industrial rights showed its members were infuriated by the government’s austerity drive.
“Officers genuinely feel what the government is doing is decimating the best of British policing,” a Federation spokesman said. “The victim of that decimation will be the British public.”
Britain’s Conservative-led coalition is seeking to make cuts of some 20 percent to police budgets as part of wider austerity measures designed to reduce a huge budget deficit.
British police officers last went on strike in 1919 in a dispute over pay and have been barred from taking any industrial action since the 1990s.
However, even if members vote for the right to strike, the change would require the law to be amended and could be blocked by parliament.