• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Police officers show their anger over pay at packed town hall


Aug 21, 2022

Usually it was Cowley car workers at mass meetings airing their grievances.

On this occasion, it was a dedicated group of people not normally associated with anger – the police.

More than 500 officers packed Oxford Town Hall in 1977 to air their grievances over pay, making it clear they would back their claim with strike action if necessary.

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It appeared they had the backing, for the pay claim at least, of their Chief Constable David Holdsworth and Ron Clibbon, chairman of the police authority, who both attended the meeting.

Mr Clibbon said: “I believe that police today must be recognised as underpaid. The problem of maintaining law and order is among the greatest concerns of society and unless it is solved, there is a real danger of our society collapsing.”

Jim Jardine, national chairman of the Police Federation, told the meeting: “The British bobby has been stretched to the limit. He is fed up with being the sacrificial lamb to an incomes policy which we didn’t approve of, never have and never will.

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“My members have seen other groups of workers using far less muscle than we have to exert pressure, and win. Can you blame my members for saying it is time we did the same?”

He said he hoped strike action would not be necessary because there would be a complete breakdown of law and order.

But he added: “Time is running out and we haven’t much longer. This must be released and realised fairly soon.”

Both Mr Jardine and the local federation chairman, Pc Stan Swann, put the blame for police dissatisfaction on the shoulders of the Labour Government.

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Mr Swann said: “By its action, central government has pushed the service along the path to the brink.”

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF