There were no boos or slow hand-clapping when Jacqui Smith faced police officers yesterday.
The Home Secretary may be grateful she didn't face the same reception as some of her colleagues have in the past when addressing angry teachers or nurses.
But the police play a specific role in society and need to maintain a reputation for treating others with a certain amount of respect - whatever they might think of them.
Instead, coppers made their feelings known with a series of caustic comments, during their annual conference in Bournemouth.
Ms Smith was reminded of her admission that she once smoked cannabis as a student.
And there were remarks about politicians wearing bullet-proof vests - a reference to her Government colleague Harriet Harman, photographed wearing a stab-proof vest as she toured Peckham, London.
More seriously, officers made it clear that they were angry at the Government's decision to ignore the decision of an independent arbitration panel about their salaries.
Police are asking what the point is of going to arbitration if one of the parties involved simply ignores a ruling they dislike. It's hard to disagree.
The Government has argued that pay rises have to be kept under control to prevent inflation rising.
It's true that putting more money into people's pay packets can lead to higher prices in the shops, hurting rather than improving their standard of living.
Of course, giving police officers a 2.5 per cent rise instead of a 1.9 per cent rise would not in itself damage the economy, but ministers argue that the settlement must be seen in the context of the wider pay negotiations with public sector workers.
Unfortunately for Ms Smith, this argument has been blown out of the water by the Government's decision to borrow £2.7 billion in order to cut taxes for the majority of working people.
This also puts more money into people's pockets, and has the same potential effects on inflation.
Potential is a key word here, as although prices are going up, the concern at the moment is that people have stopped spending due to financial uncertainty, not that they are spending too much.
Even so, if cutting income tax by £2.7 billion is acceptable, increasing police pay by much less than this shouldn't be a problem.
The reality is that Ms Smith has either drawn up or more likely, been lumbered with, a policy which flies in the face of fairness.