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Police in 'PC Pleb' t-shirts protest in troubled MP's constituency.

Angry police held a protest outside the constituency office of MP Andrew Mitchell - while wearing "PC Pleb" tshirts.

Officers handed out flyers in High Street, Sutton Coldfield, to launch a Police Federation-backed campaign against budget cuts.

The campaign will see huge poster billboards put up across the city to coincide with the Tory Party Conference, which comes to the ICC on October 7. Federation branches of the West Midlands, Warwickshire and West Mercia have joined forces for the protest.

Chief Whip Mr Mitchell has apologised for verbally abusing officers in Downing Street about which gate he could cycle through. But the Tory MP maintains that he ''did not use the words attributed to me."

Ian Edwards, chairman of West Midlands Police Federation, was at yesterday's protest with Warwickshire counterpart Simon Payne and West Mercia's Ken Mackaill.

Mr Edwards said: "The way Andrew Mitchell has behaved is indicative of the way the government seems to view the police at the moment.

"They are failing to prioritise policing in this country. We are trying to make people aware that policing suffered 20 per cent cuts. We are also urging the government to take a step back and reconsider the cuts.

"On the issue of Mr Mitchell, we feel that the Prime Minister has failed to get to the bottom of the matter.

"If he did call police officers 'plebs', and we have no reason to doubt the integrity of the officers involved, it's just another sign of the disrespect the Conservatives show to the police service. Ministers are going too far and too fast with the police cuts and our ability to provide effective frontline services is being affected given that our numbers are being reduced by 16,000."

A serving frontline officer with West Midlands claimed the cuts were already hitting performance. Black and Asian police officers in the West Midlands are five times more likely to be investigated for corruption or misconduct compared to their white colleagues.

The statistic has been revealed in a report that was commissioned by Greater Manchester Police.

It found that black and Asian officers are routinely subject to racially discriminatory inquiries for the most serious allegations of discreditable conduct, honesty and integrity.

It looked into internal investigations conducted over the last five years at West Midlands Police, Greater Manchester Police and British Transport Police.

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands Police Authority said: "The force will be reporting to us on the steps they are taking to address the report findings."

CAPTION(S):

Chairman of Warwickshire Police Federation Simon Payne at the office of MP Andrew Mitchell, left
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 27, 2012
Words:433
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