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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Pay deal will not help with officer retention

15 August 2022

In my last message I raised the issue of recruitment and retention which, in my opinion, has already reached crisis point in Hertfordshire.

Since then the Government has announced its pay settlement across policing which was initially given a cautious welcome by the Police Federation but on closer examination has turned out to be a divisive offer which favours new recruits and younger officers but does little to ease the financial concerns of their longer serving colleagues. Speaking frankly, this is the worst pay award we’ve had under this Government when you factor in the inflation rise.

I think the pay offer will probably help slightly in bringing people into the police service via increasing the initial wage so it is going to assist us in terms of the recruitment issue.

But it goes nowhere near to addressing the second part of the equation: officer retention, which is just as important.

Many of our members are still going to be getting a real terms drop in income as a result of this settlement.

I am happy to use myself as an example. I have recently received my gas and electricity bill  and I will be paying an extra £400 month which, coming off the back of a 12-year pay freeze, is unsustainable.

So, I think the Government has missed a trick with this settlement because it focuses solely on recruitment and completely forgets the retention issue.

And make no mistake, the recruitment crisis is bad enough.

We recently saw figures showing that, as a Force, we’re 40 officers up over the period of the last 12 months. The amount of time and effort we’re putting in to recruiting officers is huge and to be only 40 up is a worry and further evidence that we can’t retain officers. Not only are people exiting the job early in their career, we are seeing experienced officers calling it and day mid-service and moving on to other jobs outside the police.

That all comes down to pay and conditions. They have looked at pay but the working conditions side of things is all about how people are treated and at the minute our members are being moved all over the place to fill the gaps caused by officer shortages.

We had officers sent off to support the West Midlands Police operation at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and then 25 of our officers were moved overnight from the frontline to the Force control room because they were at such critical levels there.

Our members are being pulled from pillar to post and I don't think you would get treated like this in any other setting. This is the only job in the world where you can be moved left, right and centre and that goodwill has been taken advantage of over the last few years.

We are really struggling with the demands on policing and it is our members who are expected to pick up the lion's share of that burden.

It feels like we are firefighting, moving from one crisis to the next. None of this is lost on the senior leadership team - we have these conversations all the time - but they are stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of what they can do.

In the meantime, the Police Federation is here 24/7 for its members and I would remind all members they should not hesitate to contact us with any concerns they may have.

Stay safe and keep looking out for one another.