In its submission to the Winsor review of police pay and conditions, the Association of Chief Police Officers urged removal of the right to strike in order to 'assure service resilience'. ACPO used the example of GCHQ, the government communications headquarters, to support its case.
But Prospect argued that the no-strike clause at GCHQ was part of a 1997 agreement made by unions to restore recognition and reinstate staff who had been dismissed for being union members. The agreement had acknowledged that, as a security service, GCHQ's work is unique.
Negotiator Mike Sparham said: "The decision to strike is never an easy one but any proposal to remove the right will be bitterly resisted. The European Court of Human Rights has unanimously ruled that the right to strike is a human right recognised and protected in international law.
"It can only be limited in narrowly defined circumstances which must be provided for by law, have a legitimate aim, and be necessary in a democratic society. Removing the right to strike from police staff would not satisfy these tests."