Police have no right to strike, says new Avon and Somerset Police chief constable
Police officers’s work is so vital that they should not be allowed to strike, the new chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police has said.
It is currently illegal for police to strike and earlier this month, the Police Federation – the police staff association – failed to get more than half of its 133,000 members to support a change to the law.
The issue was one of many discussed by Nick Gargan during an interview with the Western Daily Press’ sister tile, The Post.
In the constabulary HQ at Portishead, Mr Gargan said: “I joined the police service and understood that I was taking on a role that was rather different from any other job, and there were compromises associated with that.”
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He said officers, whether on or off duty, have “responsibilities” to society.
He added: “That’s important, but it’s also important that we ensure those responsibilities and special circumstances are appropriately rewarded, and I will do what I can to ensure the people, the police officers in this constabulary, get a fair deal.”
It has been a tough time for the police. The starting salary for new constables will be slashed by £4,000 and budget cuts have been looming over every force for several years.
A fortnight into the job, the 46-year-old has been “absorbing” the landscape and culture of the force and has relished getting to know the communities he now serves.
“It’s a big, complex undertaking but Avon and Somerset Constabulary is in good shape. The people I’ve met so far have been thoroughly impressive.”
Like his predecessor Colin Port, Mr Gargan sees interaction between police and the communities as vital.
“There’s a maxim that comes from forensics, but it’s applicable to all policing and that is: ‘every contact leaves a trace’.”
The former chief constable of the National Policing Improvement Agency has moved to Clifton, in Bristol, and has vowed to be here for the “long haul”.
“I’m not a part-time chief who disappears off home on a Friday,” he said. “This is home too – so I’m just absorbing the organisation, the area, the people. Priority one for me is just learning.”