90 days from today is Mon, 25 December 2023
20 May 2022
“I voted against the subscription increase as I understand how sharply it will be felt by some and how it will be perceived by a lot of our members. But I’d urge people not to act in haste by cancelling your membership. Instead, work with me to try and mitigate this decision where we can and ensure your views and voices are not only heard but felt by the executive members of YOUR organisation.”
“At this week’s Police Federation Annual Conference the PFEW tabled a motion to increase membership subscriptions in line with any police officer pay award for 2022/23.
“Delegates stood to speak both for and against the motion and after the debate the majority of the delegates in attendance made the decision to support the subscription increase, which will be felt very differently by the membership.
“For many, what is around a 19 pence per 1% rise (after tax relief is taken into consideration) will be absorbed without much hardship, however for some of our members who are already using payday loans, food banks, meal skipping and scrapping the butter plate to make everything stretch that little bit further, even 19p will be felt.
“To put this another way, if we are awarded a 2% rise in line with the Governments remit letter, that amounts to 38p extra a month or in real terms for some, a packet of pasta… 3 meals to stretch out the money to match the month.
“You may read this and think I’m being melodramatic, but I’m speaking from experience and a position I found myself in when having been subject to frozen pay awards followed by stagnated pay and years of rising bills, a growing family and all the pressure to provide for them.
“I’d left behind a well-paid job to fulfil my dream of becoming a police officer, I had a bit of savings and took a £5,000 pay cut to join the police. Young in service and short on pay, the financial pressure grew along with the shame and feeling of being a failure… suddenly every penny mattered.
“So I know how this will be felt by some, I get it, as do others like DC Vicky Knight who courageously stood up and spoke of her hardship in front of a packed auditorium, national media and the Home Secretary at a conference where we were championing #FairPayForPolicing.
“I remember all too vividly the feelings which churned around in my empty stomach and the worries which whirled in my head as I tried to sleep at night. This is why I would challenge those colleagues amongst us who try to play the impact of this down by suggesting ‘its just 38p a month.’
“In fact, I’d flip it back on them and say this… with over £7million in our reserves and who knows how much in our organisational investments, we are arguing we need that 38p more than someone using a foodbank? Really? We all understand many in our communities are earning less, which is sad reflection on our society and the 6th richest country in the world.
“What I am asking is should a police officer be in this position? Should we have to worry about how we’re going to feed our family as we strap on a stab vest to deal with the very worst amongst us?
“This doesn’t even touch on how this looks for example, we are asking for fair pay and have run a really impactive campaign highlighting the plight our membership are facing:
- 20% REAL TERM PAY CUTS
- RAIDS AGAIN, ON OUR PENSIONS
- COPS AT BREAKING POINT, MENTALY, PHYSICALLY AND FINANCIALLY
“We had rounds of applause from conference to support our new Chair, Steve Hartshorn as he eloquently explained the plight of Police Officers. We had cheers for West Midlands Police Federation Chair Richard Cooke’s comments to the Home Secretary about waking up to the plight our members are facing by asking her to put her money where her mouth is.
“We then voted to dip into the anticipated pitiful award on offer and we seemingly reversed the majority of that hard work and played right into the hands of Government not least the press, who will look at every opportunity to undermine the reality of Policing.
“As a branch board Chair and member of the Police Federation of England and Wales National Council, I understand the financial pressure the organisation is under and I have a duty to ensure the organisation is financially viable, so it can be responsive to the needs and demands of the membership.
“Your organisation will undoubtably need a cash injection in the future, but as I’ve expressed privately and via e-mail to the National Council and National Board, I do not believe that the case presented at conference was strong enough, our financial position was not transparent enough or the timing right.
“This is why I and other members of the National Council voted against the original paper presented during an extraordinary meeting and why I voted against the motion at conference. We save and boost our reserves when times are good to use when times are hard… and it’s bloody hard out there at the minute.
“So going forward and in anticipation of further increases next year I would urge the membership to stick with me and trust me with their hard earned subscription contributions. As opposed to withdrawing, let’s collectively step forward and rise to the challenge.
“Help me question, engage and demand a better explanation and I would urge you to get behind me to suggest that, if we are going to shift the decision making from the National Council to the conference delegates we should be able to widen that authority to the membership - as it is here where the real impact will be felt.
“In return, I will bring a paper before your local GMPF branch board and suggest that like the Met and Police Federation Region 8, we look at options to absorb and/or offset the increase in subscriptions for this year.
“Whilst this may be difficult, it would also in my view be the right thing to do.”