17 November 2022
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), the undisputed voice of policing, recognises the measures announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as part of the Autumn Statement 2022 to address the rising cost of living and increasing rate of inflation.
The Government has taken a step in the right direction today by acknowledging on the floor of Parliament that living standards have fallen seven per cent wiping out eight years of growth. However, the Government must now acknowledge the thousands of police officers in England and Wales withstanding the year-on-year above inflation rate real-terms pay cut since 2010.
The real-terms pay cut faced by rank and file officers presently stands at more than 25 per cent at the prevailing rate of inflation. This is coupled with a blanket pay freeze endured by officers during the pandemic while other groups of workers in the public sector received a pay rise in consideration of the risk they undertook.
The Government has rightly decided to increase the national living wage by 9.7 per cent from next year but remains non-committal about recognising the hardships faced by police officers who put themselves at risk to protect communities and uphold the law while being the only group of emergency service workers without employment rights.
The Chancellor has informed us that the energy price guarantee will be extended to ensure average bills do not exceed £3,000 as inflation keeps rising into the next year. This year’s pay rise of £1,900, to all police officers of England and Wales, irrespective of pay points, ranks and number of years in service, will not be enough to cover the steep rise in household bills, including the five per cent increase in council tax.
In addition to this, one in eight police forces in England and Wales are in special measures and in dire need of Government funding to improve and future proof services. Yet the Government is seeking stringent austerity measures from key departments. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement has again left policing without sufficient investment making it impossible to make necessary improvements or execute desired reforms, while other crucial public services have been promised a funding boost of £3.3billion. There has been no consideration given to investment in infrastructure, technology or services to enable forces to provide the quality of policing the public deserves.
PFEW is appealing to the Government to consider the constraints of police officers before forming policies affecting them directly and indirectly. Future proofing and developing our police service must be considered to enable officers to protect the public and police in a way that supports society. Failing to do so, will spell dire consequences for the profession and ultimately put public safety at risk.