Police say Blunkett reforms 'dangerous'

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The Independent Online

Rank-and-file police officers attacked David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, yesterday for his proposed radical reforms of the police service, accusing him of "backdoor privatisation" and "peddling propaganda".

The revolt came as the Police Federation, which represents 120,000 officers in England and Wales, leaked details of Mr Blunkett's White Paper on the police, which includes proposals to give civilian wardens the power to detain suspects.

The federation is particularly angry at changes in pay and working conditions that will result in extra money for overtime and shift work being cut and sick pay being restricted, but might also mean that officers doing difficult jobs – such as marksmen – receive an extra £1,000 a year. Officers with more than 30 years' experience will be given cash incentives to stay on and it will be easier for detectives to work part-time.

As a pre-emptive strike to the Police Bill, which is expected to be published on Wednesday, the Police Federation issued a detailed criticism yesterday of many of the Home Secretary's ideas, some of which are contained in a booklet issued by the Home Office in the police organisation's internal magazine.

The federation said the move to use civilian wardens was "the most dangerous and objectionable of all the proposals in the reform package".

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