Police Federation

‘The degradation of police pay has been damaging’

National Secretary states Government has “taken their eye off the ball” when it comes to police pay.

10 October 2023


National Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Calum Macleod, has called on the Government to “take policing seriously”, highlighting the damaging degradation in police pay.

Delivering an update at Annual Conference 2023, he said: “This has been an increasingly difficult year for policing, this has been a difficult year for you - we understand that.

“We understand the financial pressures you are under, and we are with you. The federated ranks are suffering from pay being reduced in real terms by over 20 per cent since 2010.

“We are all aware of the current fiscal situation of the country yet how can it be acceptable that those who protect the public 24 hours a day continue to struggle to make ends meet. That is unacceptable and needs to be redressed by the Government. We desperately need a fair mechanism for determining police pay.”

On July 13, the Government announced a 7 per cent pay increase for members, which PFEW believes is a step in the right direction, but still falls short of adjusting the real term pay cut officers have suffered since 2000.

“With this pay award, the feedback from our members around the country is it has kept a roof over their heads, and food on the table for their families – how can that be an acceptable position? The Government needs to take policing seriously – it needs to be higher up on the agenda, as they have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to police pay,” he continued.

Mr Macleod referenced the Lord Edmund-Davies review in the 70s, highlighting how the findings still ring true today.

He explained: “This review highlighted the uniqueness of the office of constable – that there are restrictions on police officers and there should be an appropriate mechanism to determine police pay through collective bargaining.

“The degradation of police pay has been damaging. The erosion of allowances, the erosion of pay has been stark - especially since the abolition of the Police Negotiating Board in 2013-2014.

“We will continue to work with police chiefs who are willing to have that discussion around translating our arguments on recruitment and retention, ensuring the service is appropriately paid moving forward.

“We will continue to influence in any way we can, be that through independent research, or in house research, whether that be discussions with our chiefs, with politicians – every avenue so we can continue to highlight the pressures police officers face.

“We also need to speak out about this with one voice.”

In July 2021, PFEW withdrew from Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) after recommendations were again disregarded by the Government, seeing officers with no uplift in pay despite the efforts and challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We need a mechanism to fairly, and adequately, reward our members. I believe the current mechanism is broken – we need a new one which police and members of the public can trust in,” Mr Macleod continued.

“We have a responsibility as the Police Federation to be your voice, to speak on your behalf, to negotiate on your behalf, to represent your interests in all our activities, to help mould a better reality for us all. And, I firmly believe by working together, we can achieve that.

“On taking office I made a commitment, as your national secretary, to the organisation, to the board, to the council and to you, the membership, that we would do things differently, that we would be more open in our dealings on your behalf.

“We now have an agreed strategic direction for the organisation, a direction that can ensure that your views are heard so that our influence grow and we can secure the best conditions of service for our membership.”

Mr Macleod continued the session by answering questions submitted by members.

When asked about regional allowances not being sufficient, he replied: “I understand the struggles officers in south east of the country have. We have had a discussion with the national reward team at the National Police Chiefs’ Council, stating we need to be reviewing these allowances to ensure they are fit for purpose.

“I have been reassured there is ongoing work in respect of this.”

He added he would encourage police chiefs to improve the review process to make it swifter and more efficient, possibly analysing all allowances at the same time.

When asked for advice on the pension trap, he said: “I am also in this position and sympathise and empathise with those affected.

“We are seeking legal advice through Andrew Short QC, who also led on the Employment Tribunal for the FBU.

“There is a massive fairness element to this. The financial consequences for anyone who does want to take their ‘87 benefits are huge.

“We are awaiting to see what that legal advice brings. It needs to be holistic to see if there is any avenue and we will communicate to members once that comes in.”

When queried on if detectives will be recognised on their investigation ability from a financial perspective, and about them receiving clothing allowance, he said: “Clothing allowance is something that has dropped off in the allowances in the past. If that is something the members dictate, we should be trying to progress, it is something we should do.

“PFEW has been clear in the past in respect what pay should look like for roles and ranks. If the organisation determines there should be a conversation surrounding how much detectives get paid and should that be more than that of a response officer - there will probably be arguments either way. At this moment in time that discussion has to be had.”

On if there is any work being done on overtime and bank holiday pay for inspecting ranks, he explained: “This was called out during the PRRB report. It called for a framework on police pay going forward. Work ongoing on that, SO watch this space. We have asked to be involved within that police pay framework AND we have been given reassurances this will happen.”

Concluding the session, he said: “We need to value our police officers, where we are running towards danger, everyone is running away - without that we will continue on a spiral.

“We will do everything we possibly can to redress that balance, but we need a firm commitment that this situation will be addressed and will be redressed moving forward by whichever political party is in power.”

For more information on pensions, including FAQs, click here.

Watch the session back below.

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