22 February 2023
“If police officers aren’t fairly paid, they will walk out the door and find something better with far less stress and pressure,” the Chair of Cumbria Police Federation has said.
Paul Williams was speaking after reports that the Government was planning a below-inflation 3.5% pay rise for police officers and other public sector workers.
Meanwhile official submissions to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) warned the Government that policing would be under threat if it continued to ignore calls for a fair pay increase. Police officers’ pay has fallen by almost 17% in real terms since 2010. A third of officers have fewer than five years’ experience, and a rising number are leaving for the private sector.
Paul said: “We have seen how pay is affecting public sector workers and many others in this country who have had enough of struggling to make ends meet.
“There is more strike action to come, yet the one body that cannot strike – the police – is every bit as affected by the same issues. But we’re expected to ‘put up and shut up’, while more and more is being asked of us.
“The Federation’s Pay and Morale Survey spells out the frustration. Cops are fed up and want the Government to listen to them, or even bother to take time to read the survey. If officers aren’t fairly paid, they will walk out the door and find something better with far less stress and pressure.”
Paul added that he was “tired” of the Government’s arguments that it was putting 20,000 more officers on the streets.
He said: “This isn’t more officers, this is replacing what was taken away. And the problem isn’t just recruitment, it’s retention. Cops need a meaningful reason to stay in the police and, quite frankly, the standard answer of ‘20,000 extra cops’ is getting boring.
“More cops are always welcome, but bringing them in and giving them a taste of what’s to come will not retain talent. Every day, officers face horrific sights, come under physical attack, work long hours due to cancelled rest days and leave restrictions, and do ever-more complex work.
“And every year for the past 10 years, they have been told pay is being cut. That is not investing in policing, whichever way you paint it.”