Defence Police Federation leaders met MPs at Parliament this week to update them on the issues affecting MoD officers, with pay parity and cuts in posts still high on the agenda.
DPF General Secretary Mitch Batt and Chairman Eamon Keating had been due to discuss the review of the Modernising Defence Programme which was supposed to take place before Parliament’s summer recess.
However, the recent Brexit debates have pushed it further down the Parliamentary pecking order.
Despite the delay Mitch says the meeting – with eight MPs who have championed the DPF’s cause from the start – was very worthwhile.
“There has been a lot going on in Government at the moment and the review of the Modernising Defence Program has been put back,” he said.
“But it was a really useful meeting with the likes of Stewart McDonald (SNP) Gerald Jones (Shadow Defence Minister) Louise Haigh (Shadow Police Minister), Holly Lynch and Menzies Campbell – all of whom have been incredibly understanding of the issues we are raising.”
Those issues include the threat of losing another 160 posts in the force, pay and bonus parity and the retirement age for DPF members.
“Stewart McDonald and Gerald Jones said they would look at raising questions in the house on our behalf so it’s very positive, the more you engage with them the more they will support and help,” Mitch said.
He added that he and Eamon are expecting an email update about the review of the program, which the DPF says ‘brushes over’ security issues, in the next few days.
“That’s what we’ve been told,” he said. “It’s likely that it will say all the findings aren’t in yet, but we’re still working hard on it.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson may also be calling for a rise in defence spending as part of the review, from 1.7% of GDP to 3%
“The rise might help us,” Mitch added, “hopefully security might be part of any spending, and it won’t all go on a new aircraft carrier that we as the DPF won’t have the resources to protect.”