Sunderland and Durham police in protest march

Photo credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire
Photo credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire
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HUNDREDS of police officers from Sunderland and Durham are preparing to head to London as they protest against Government changes.

The National Police Federation’s march is expected to pass through Westminster on Tuesday as officers demonstrate their anger at the Coalition’s pay and conditions policies.

Northumbria’s branch expects 220 of its members to travel to the capital for the event in their own time, with a further 130 from Durham’s force to join the protest.

The federation says it is taking action after the second part of Tom Winsor’s report, which calls for a review of conditions and pay.

Its first phase led to changes in wages and allowances which will save an estimated £150million a year, with pension subscriptions raised.

The lawyer, who has previously advised Government on the railways, has said he will tackle the issues of officers on restricted duties, often due to ill-health or injury, who work reduced hours in back-office positions but still on full pay.

Wages could also be frozen and overtime payments and some allowances could be cut.

However, police are angry at elements of the proposals, along with the Government’s cut of 20 per cent to the policing budget over the next four years.

They also say 16,000 officers will go in the next four years, with £300million to be slashed from pay and a one per cent rise in wages for two years following a two-year freeze.

Officers agree changes could be made to improve the service and save cash, but believe a cut of 12 per cent would be achievable, without harming the service.

Federation Durham branch chairman Kevin Wilson said: “This is about the disgraceful way our members are being treated by this Government in relation to pay and conditions.

“What the public don’t realise is they’re not going to see the affect of this next week or month, but before we know it we’ll be five or 10 years down the line and that’s when it will be affecting our services.

“This could be catastrophic to police and the public in this country.

“We don’t have the right to strike so we are having this march in our own time to highlight our concerns.”

He said he had evidence some officers had worked three weeks without a day off and with leave cancelled during the Olympics, which meant those with children would miss out on a summer holiday with their family.

Tuesday’s march will start at Millbank and pass the Home Office, Houses of Parliament, the Treasury, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and the National Police Memorial site.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham