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'I'm exasperated with the pay review process'

Monday, 05 February 2018

PFEW Chair Calum Macleod explains our efforts in getting a decent - 3.4% - pay increase for officers this year.

Today we submitted our written evidence to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB), calling for a 3.4% increase for police officers in England and Wales, and demanding that the 1% that the government cheated us out of last year be consolidated and not be considered as part of this year’s settlement.

This is the fourth year that we have submitted evidence to the PRRB, and that is exactly what ours is – strong, well-researched evidence that takes account of the uniqueness of policing, the increasing pressures and demands on police officers and inflation now and predictions for the year to come. This is not finger in the wind guess work; our credible submissions have been commented on as such by the PRRB.

Compare that then to the situation we find ourselves in this year with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC): less firm, written proposals and more finger in the wind plans.  In fact, as I write, it appears the NPCC will fail deliver its submission to the PRRB, despite an agreed timescale. But why I was expecting anything else? We know the annual debacle of arranging duties over Christmas, despite it being 25 December every year. And the NPCC is not alone – it seems the Home Office and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners are likely to fail to meet the deadline too.

If I sound exasperated with the situation, it’s because I am. Not just because it seems we are the only people capable of meeting an agreed deadline, but if you saw the letter sent by the Home Secretary to the PRRB last autumn, directing what aspects they should focus on for this year’s pay award, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the NPCC plans for pay reform were fully developed. Whether the Home Secretary was duped in to believing the NPCC plans were more advanced than they are, or whether the PRRB and staff associations were being set an impossible task, we were invited to comment on nothing more than a list of NPCC ifs, buts and maybes. That is completely unacceptable.

Ironically, for the leaders of a profession that concentrates on evidence, evidence is the one thing lacking to support much of the NPCC’s aspirations. It’s rather like having been asked to comment on the Mona Lisa when all Da Vinci had drawn was hair and eyebrows.

Our written evidence makes clear this failing as well as the failure of the NPCC to address the issue of pay progression, as directed by the PRRB. Instead we see ludicrous proposals about paying apprentice police officers a derisory £18,000 starting salary; and this was raised by the NPCC just days before the submissions are expected by the PRRB.

Last year, the PRRB put its neck on the line recommending an overall pay uplift that was more than the 1% public sector pay cap. This year, we ask that they do so again. And then government must stop patting us on the back with one hand, while picking our pockets with the other. They must honour the PRRB process and implement their recommendation in full; and give us the additional 1% consolidated pay they owe us from last year too.

Read our accompnaying news article Police chiefs under fire over pay and more on the PRRB

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