1 July 2022
Tony Wetton says it is a disgrace that some police forces and Federation branches have had to resort to handing out food vouchers to help their members cope with the cost of living.
Derbyshire’s chair was reacting to comments made by his national counterpart, Steve Hartshorn, about how police officer pay is being severely eroded by soaring inflation and colleagues are struggling to cover the basics for their family.
Tony said: “It’s ironic when you see police officers policing the rail strikes and other industrial action – actions which police officers are forbidden by law from taking to protect their own livelihoods – in the knowledge that our own pay has been frozen by the Government since November 2020. In fact, what we’ve seen is actually a 20 per cent real terms pay cut since 2010 when set against inflation. And we see absolutely no evidence of Government starting to feel like they ought to treat us fairly.”
Steve, who took over as national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales in April, has been speaking about police being the only frontline public service unable to strike for better pay, and how this places a special responsibility on the Government to ensure officers are treated fairly.
He said: “Some regional Police Federations have started handing out food vouchers to help police officers cope with rising costs of living. The Government has gone into a recruitment overdrive when many police officers are contemplating alternative professions to maintain the minimum living standards for their families. Retention is as crucial to successful policing as recruitment, and it must be high on the Government’s agenda.”
National Federation deputy chair Tiff Lynch added: “Everyone is coming to terms with the cost of living crisis. But, in all honesty, police officers have been grappling with the cost of living for many years now. Inflation is hitting a 40-year high but with pay freezes and below inflation wage rises, our members have faced a 20 per cent real terms cut to their salaries.”
The Federation is demanding fair pay as well as an independent pay mechanism and longer-term funding settlements that for proper planning.