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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Pay freeze a ‘kick in the teeth’

22 July 2021

The Government has kicked police officers in the teeth by ensuring that their pay is capped despite their sterling efforts during the pandemic, according to the chair of Hertfordshire Police Federation.

And Geoff Bardell says urgent reform of the police pay review process is needed if the service is to retain existing officers and attract the very best recruits.

 “The pay review process is a farce,” says Geoff, “We are expected to believe that the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) is independent and yet each year the Government remit effectively tells it what award it can consider. This year, the Government did not ask for a recommendation for a police officer pay lift in keeping with a pause on pay reviews for the majority of the public sector.

“We enter the pay review process in good faith, submitting evidence in a joint paper with the Superintendents’ Association but, quite frankly, what is the point if the PRRB has to abide by what it is told by the Government? How can anyone claim this is a fair process?”

Geoff has also hit out at Home Secretary Priti Patel who has told officers that she has ‘got their backs’.

“Just last month at the Police Federation’s annual national conference, the Home Secretary once again repeated that mantra,” said Geoff, “It would be great to think her words are backed by her actions but I am afraid on the issue of police pay this has not been the case.

“Police officers have been on the frontline during the pandemic, carrying out their regular duties but also responding to the demands placed on them due to Covid-19. They have risked their own health – and that of their families – while continuing to serve their communities, often unable to socially distance or fully protect themselves from harm. They have been assaulted, and spat at and coughed over by people claiming to have the virus.  In addition, they have adapted when new guidance has been issued by the Government, often at very short notice, while facing criticism from all angles – derided for being too tough by some and not tough enough by others.

“Their exceptional dedication to duty should be reflected in a pay award otherwise we risk losing the officers we have and also not being able to attract good quality recruits at a time when we are in the midst of the biggest recruitment drive in decades.”

Geoff is calling on the National Police Chiefs’ Council and police and crime commissioners to get behind the Federation and support its calls for the pay review process to be overhauled.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation, has already strongly condemned the pay freeze and the PRRB process.

He said yesterday: “Police officers have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see firefighters and local government workers in England given a 1.5 per cent increase while they receive nothing. This is further evidence that not all public services are treated equally by this Government, and some are valued more than others.

“The current pay system for policing is not fit for purpose. We are forced to enter into an inherently unfair process from the start, with the odds weighted firmly in favour of the Government where, it seems, a decision has already been made when they set the parameters for the pay review body.

“It is now essential that we review this process and look to find an alternative; a solution that has the best interests of police officer pay at heart. We will be seeking the views of our members and calling an urgent meeting with our 43 Federation branches from across England and Wales to discuss our next steps.”

The review body was allowed to consider a pay uplift for those earning less than £24,000 a year and, as such, has recommended the minimum rates for Police Constable Degree Apprentice starting pay and Pay Point 0 of the constable scale are increased by £250 and all officers earning less than £24,000 (on a full-time equivalent basis) should receive a consolidated pay award of £250.

The PRRB report acknowledged police officers’ unique role during the pandemic.

It stated: “The work of police officers is important, difficult, complex and sometimes dangerous in the ordinary course of events. As one of the groups working on the frontline during the pandemic, Covid-19 meant that the police had to adapt and respond to a new situation and enforce new and evolving regulations. This added further pressures and personal risk to their challenging role. Consequently, we would like to acknowledge our remit group for their particular contribution this year.”

 

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