22 July 2021
The Police Federation has declared it no longer has confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel after she vowed to press ahead with a pay freeze for police officers just weeks after saying she had their backs.
At an extraordinary National Council meeting, the Federation also decided to withdraw its support and engagement from the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) after branding the latest move “the final straw”.
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton said denying police officers a pay rise despite their critical role in the frontline of the pandemic represented a shocking betrayal by the Government.
Tony, a fierce critic of the PRRB, said: “It beggars belief really. On one hand officers are hearing politicians thanking them for their efforts but on the other they are telling the supposedly independent pay review body what it can and can’t do in terms of acknowledging and recognising the unique role of the police.
“Just last month, the Home Secretary was praising officers and telling them she had their backs but we see that, once again, they were just platitudes which now ring hollow in the ears of those same bitterly disappointed and unappreciated officers.
“Words are cheap in these circumstances and police officers, already reeling that they were not given any kind of priority in the Covid vaccine roll-out, now find that despite the challenges they have faced during the pandemic and the risks to their health and that of their own families, the Government is totally unwilling to give them even a small pay rise – not even permitting the supposedly independent PRRB to consider recommending an appropriate uplift, however modest.
“Police officers make sacrifices in their professional and personal lives and this needs to be acknowledged with a fair, transparent and genuinely independent process for deciding their pay, with binding arbitration if necessary.
“Officers cannot take industrial action to ensure fair treatment and this unique vulnerability must be fully considered and appreciated. At the moment those officers feel that their lack of such protections is being abused year after year.
“It is, frankly, difficult to have any confidence in the support policing can expect from the Home Secretary and in the pay review mechanism forced on policing by the Winsor review a decade ago.
“Even the review board expressed frustration at having its hands tied by the Home Secretary yet again. Police officers will be asking whether there is any point in engaging with this sham of a process, and wondering what they need to do to get the Government to genuinely appreciate them and treat them fairly.
“I think it is time that the whole police pay review process was overhauled so that the body involved is not dictated to by the Government with the evidence we submit seemingly ignored.”
Police Federation National chair John Apter said: “The PRRB is not truly independent, the body which is the only mechanism we have to consider any pay award for police officers, has its hands constantly tied by the Government who continually interfere. The PRRB itself recognises its lack of independence.
“We can no longer accept this and have no confidence in this system which is why we are walking away.
“We often hear the Home Secretary praise police officers but our members are so angry with this Government. They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing.
“At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination. They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw.
“As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current Home Secretary. I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”
In a statement issued after today’s National Council meeting, the Police Federation said: “For too long PFEW has also been forced to enter into an unfair pay process with the odds weighted firmly in the favour of the Government.
“The PRRB’s lack of independence is something the body recognises itself and even highlights in its report.
“With inflation set to increase to almost four per cent later this year, this is yet another real-terms pay cut for police officers in England and Wales and a huge slap in the face for our members who have been attacked and vilified while holding the frontline during this pandemic.
“PFEW has tried its level best to be entirely co-operative in all dealings with the Government. But this Government and this Home Secretary, for all their talk of how much they value what we do, have made this impossible. They cannot be trusted or taken at face value in the way we would expect.
“As the undisputed voice of policing we say this to the Home Secretary: you cannot pat our members on the back for their heroic efforts with one hand, while effectively taking their pay with the other. Warm words are no longer enough.”