Derbyshire Police Federation

Essex Chief adds his voice to warnings over officer pay

21 March 2023

The Federation’s calls for a significant pay rise for police officers to keep pace with the soaring cost of living have found backing from the Chief Constable of Essex.

BJ Harrington has spoken out on how many of his officers are struggling to make ends meet and more than 300 had asked him for permission to take on second jobs. 

He also warned that he was losing experienced officers and detectives hand over fist with people resigning for better paid work outside of policing.

The Chief Constable said: “My colleagues are proud – they are not the kind to complain but someone has to speak up for them and their families. You can’t Taser the gas bill and you can’t handcuff the family food shop at Lidl. And you can’t arrest rising mortgage bills.”

Those quitting the Essex force included a recently-promoted sergeant who quit soon after passing tough national investigation exams, and another officer who resigned to work in the family restaurant. One policeman with a new baby on the way quit to earn £250 a day as a scaffolder, Mr Harrington explained.

Research commissioned by the Federation found that police pay has fallen almost 20 per cent behind inflation between 2000 and 2022 – meaning that it has risen at barely half the rate of an average UK employee across the same period.

Tony Wetton

Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation.

Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, said: “Whether it is the Chief Constable of Essex this week, or Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, who spoke out in February, the story is depressingly similar – police officers are being underpaid and feeling undervalued by this Government, and colleagues have had enough.

“It’s sad and quite demoralising to continually find ourselves in this position where we are having to plead poverty to get the Government to take notice. Police officers have enough on their plates doing a demanding job without having to worry about whether they can make ends meet. I hope the intervention of the chief constables in solidarity with the Federation will make the difference.

“If not, we’ll continue to lose experienced officers. It’s really that serious.”

Chief Constable Harrington, who took up his post in 2018, spoke out to stop people ‘leaving quietly’ and ‘moving on’ from the Force. “We simply have to stop this silent erosion of talent while there’s still time,” he said.


June 2024