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Federation Open Meeting: South-East allowance, Taser, Shifts and Pay are all debated.

Hampshire Police Federation has repeated a public call for an increase to the South-East allowance for its members - after it emerged some officers at the force were being forced to use food vouchers.

Officers at Hampshire receive an extra £1,000 a year, while those at Surrey receive £2,500 in South East Allowance. Essex, Kent and Thames Valley Police pay officers an extra £2,000 and Sussex awards £1,500.

The payments are made at the discretion of the Chief Constable.

The call was made at the packed 2017 Hampshire Police Federation Open Meeting on Tuesday 10 October, which was attended by more than 300 officers.

John Apter, Federation Chairman, said: "Our officers remain on the lowest possible amount. Why should they be different to colleagues who work in adjoining Forces? It is just wrong.

"We know that many of our officers are struggling financially; we now have officers asking the Welfare Fund for food vouchers to put food on the table.

"One officer in Hampshire has been made homeless because she can't afford to pay her rent. A police officer living in emergency Bed and Breakfast accommodation. It is just wrong."

Mr Apter hit out at the recent pay award for police officers, warning that those that called it a "2 per cent pay increase" were "lying".

He added: "An increase in the South-East allowance is overdue. Chief Constable, please reconsider your position and give your officers a financial lifeline."

Mr Apter also called for an arrangement with local train companies to introduce a subsidised travel scheme for officers - in line with those at other forces.

Hampshire Police Federation has made this request previously but it was rejected as an "integrity issue".

Mr Apter asked Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney: "With officers often traveling great distances to work, such an agreement with local train companies could be of real help. I know that the train companies want officers on their trains; can this be something we take forward together?"

The force must also do more to alleviate demand on its officers, the meeting heard. The force had 215 police officers for every 100,000 members of public in 2007. In 2017 that has reduced to 147.

Concerns about single-crewing were also raised. As were fears over a roads policing shift pattern, that sees officers having to work seven days straight. "We're tired, fatigued, and it is becoming dangerous," said one officer.

There was a plea to give Tasers to every police officer that wants want. "The Government needs to put its hand in its pocket and fund more Tasers," said Chairman Mr Apter.

And the importance for protection in law for police officer drivers was also brought up. The current situation was described as "perverse".

The meeting heard that there are still too many errors occurring with police officer pay. The Federation has threatened legal action against the force if these errors continue.

Mr Apter added: "We have reduced officer numbers by over 25% but the demand being placed on those left is increasing. This is not sustainable, people are breaking. This is a crisis."

He concluded by telling the meeting how he would still be standing for National Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, when the rules and Police Regulations allow it.

In response, Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said firmly that she was not going to review the Roads Policing Unit shift pattern however she said she does not underestimate the impact it can have.

CC Pinkney said that in the long term, there will no doubt be more Taser in the force. But she could not say when that will be.

Responding to the call for an increase in the South-East allowance, CC Pinkney said: "I do not underestimate the difference an uplift would make". She told the meeting that the limit the force can pay is £2,000.

However, she said that an increase in the South-East Allowance by £1,000 would cost the force £3 million a year. And CC Pinkney said having looked at recruitment/retention, the case for the increase - or the evidence as she called it - wasn't there.

She warned that the choices and consequences of having to make decisions about the force without fairer funding "could mean fewer of us."

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