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Gloucestershire Police Federation

Police Pay Drop Is "Deliberate Decision" By Government

9 March 2023

The huge drop in police pay is a stark reminder of how policing is treated differently to other public sectors, Gloucestershire Police Federation has said.

Chair Steve James was speaking as the Police Federation of England and Wales announced it would be seeking a 17% pay rise for police officers this year.

The PFEW came to the figure after a report by independent think tank Social Market Foundation showed that police officer pay had declined by 17% in real terms since 2000.

And Steve said the fact that police salaries had dropped so much in comparison to other sectors showed it was a “deliberate decision” by the Government to target officers’ pay.

He added: “An independent study by a leading non-partisan think tank showed a landslide decline in police pay since 2000.

“This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following police pay over the last decade. It certainly won’t come as a surprise to police officers who have seen their quality of life steadily eroded by a decade of pay cuts, pension changes and devaluation of allowances.

“What is particularly stark is the difference in how police officers have been treated in comparison to other public sector workers.

“The Police have been an outlier among protective services workers; both public sector workers; and all workers. The report found all these groups saw their pay rise in real terms over this period.

“This makes it clear and obvious that the degradation of police pay has not just been about public sector pay restraint, but has been a deliberate policy decision by this Conservative Government to target the pay of police officers.

“The independent report, released in the public domain today, exposes the decline in police pay, likely to be linked to the restrictions on police officers’ right to strike, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage to all other workers including other emergency service workers.

“Unless this pay decline is urgently addressed then police officers will have no choice but to look at their options for pursuing the same industrial rights as every other wok in this country. The right to collective bargaining, the right to work-to-rule, the right to withdraw their labour – but most importantly, the right to fair pay.”

The SMF research also found that police pay fared badly when compared to other protective services and public sector workers, whose pay rose by 1% and 14% respectively over the same period.

The report also claimed that the decline in police pay is likely to be linked the restrictions on their right to strike.

And it added that if the current police pay trend continued, officer remuneration would drop by a further 4% in real terms by 2027.

PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn said: “The Government can no longer sit by and ignore our members’ basic needs and must recognise the impact of this independent research. In the context of ongoing inflation, indications of a police retention crisis, and reports of officers being forced to turn to food banks, the issue of police pay must be addressed now after more than a decade of being ignored.

“Police officers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that begins with better pay. Pay that not only reflects the cost-of-living crisis that many of us face but puts right the 17% decline since 2000 and compensates officers for the dangers they’re exposed to as part of the job. They must be compensated fairly for doing a job that is so important and unique that they do not have access to industrial rights.”

The report also found that a key factor in discussions over police pay should be what it called the “P-factor”: an element of police pay that reflects the unique obligations and responsibilities police officers’ experience relative to other comparable roles. This includes their unique risk of exposure to physical and psychological harm, alongside the restrictions that are placed upon their private lives.

 

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