MP in police ‘hatred’ denial

Nick Herbert

Nick Herbert

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Police Minister Nick Herbert denied he hated the police when put on the spot by a Lancashire officer.

Sergeant Mark Sweet confronted the Tory MP during a debate at the annual Police Federation Conference in Bournemouth.

Mr Herbert, who was given the silent treatment by the meeting of almost 2,000 delegates, told Sgt Sweet: “To imply, as some have done, that I hate the police is just quite wrong.

“No-one will ever tell me that I should, or do, hate the police.

“Everything I see when I visit forces up and down the country has been absolutely the complete opposite.

“No Police Minister is happy to sit here having to cut budgets and say numbers should go, but there are some decisions which we have to take because we just have to.”

Sgt Sweet, who worked in the county’s southern division, which includes Bamber Bridge and Chorley, is now secretary of the Lancashire Federation.

His question was about the Home Office removing the Competence Related Threshold Payment, despite a tribunal ruling that it should continue. Sgt Sweet later said: “We make no apologies for giving him a tough time.

“We treated him courteously and professionally, but if he is going to attack us in our pay and conditions and on the way the police service will look in the future, then he has got to expect some really robust challenges.

“We accept that we have cuts coming.

“We will shoulder our fair share, but they have gone over and above what is reasonable.

“I didn’t say he hated the police, I stuck to the point of my question.

“But I must have touched a nerve with what I did say and if I’m honest that was the intention.

“He is a man under pressure – and he deserves to be.”