Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

Met police plot media fightback as cuts loom

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This story is posted to the Holmes Report website here

London’s police officers are planning a campaign to fight back against claims they are a drain on public resources, as Government spending cuts loom on the horizon.

The Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF), which represents 30,000 officers from the UK’s biggest police force, has appointed an agency to handle the sensitive task, after briefing firms in London.

According to briefing documents seen by the Holmes Report, the MPF is seeking to urgently counter coverage of Metropolitan Police terms and conditions of service, which it believes is unfairly negative.

Government spending cuts could affect police numbers, along with terms of pay, conditions of service and pensions. Accordingly, the MPF is also seeking to increase its influence among politicians, decision-makers and opinion formers.

In recent months, coverage has focused on of the amount of public money being spent on such areas as police overtime and pensions. The MPF is concerned that these stories paint police officers in an overwhelmingly negative light, despite the sacrifices they make in order to carry out their duties.

A Daily Mail story last month, for example, reported that £114 million of taxpayers money was being spent to cover a shortfall in Metropolitan Police pensions. The Taxpayers Alliance called this “unaffordable”, while MPF efforts to rebut the story were unsuccessful.

While the MPF does not expect the police to be totally exempt from spending cuts, they are hoping that the campaign will spark a more open and honest debate.

MPF chairman Peter Smyth admitted an agency had been appointed but declined to provide any further comment, calling the matter “private”.

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Written by Arun Sudhaman

October 5, 2010 at 8:55 am

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