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Keir Starmer tells LBC Home Secretary Priti Patel's role is 'untenable'

26 July 2021, 09:45 | Updated: 26 July 2021, 09:48

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says the government has 'let down the police' over the last ten years, saying Home Secretary Priti Patel's position is 'untenable.'

Speaking on his regular monthly Call Keir show, the Labour leader said the government had let the police down since they took power ten years ago.

Sir Keir was speaking after the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) said it "no longer has confidence" in the Home Secretary.

"It's all very well saying they're recruiting more officers now but they stripped 21,000 out over the last ten years."

"They've got no pay rise and they feel very very let down by the Home Secretary," Sir Keir said.

This led to the Labour leader telling LBC he thought Priti Patel's position was "untenable."

Read more: Met Police Federation Chairman blasts Priti Patel over her treatment of police officers

In a statement, the Police Federation – which represents officers in England and Wales – also withdrew its engagement and support from the Police Remuneration Review Body, saying the current police pay mechanism is "not fit for purpose".

“We often hear the Home Secretary praise police officers but our members are so angry with this Government," said PFEW National Chair John Apter.

"They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing.

"At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination.

"They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw.

"As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current Home Secretary.

"I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”

The PFEW said attendees at a National Council meeting "overwhelmingly" supported a vote of no confidence in Ms Patel and in the process for setting police officers' pay.

They added: "As the undisputed voice of policing we say this to the Home Secretary: you cannot pat our members on the back for their heroic efforts with one hand, while effectively taking their pay with the other. Warm words are no longer enough."