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Norfolk Police Federation

Chairman's blog: My colleagues deserve to be recognised for their dedication and challenging work

23 July 2020

The Government’s announcement on the 2.5% pay rise to be given to police officers on 1 September is good news, writes Norfolk Police Federation Chairman Andy Symonds.

But do my colleagues deserve more? Yes, undoubtedly they do.

I see the results of their dedicated and often immensely challenging work. They put their safety and wellbeing to one side on many occasions to protect and serve the community. Add into the mix that officers are the most scrutinised public servants in the country and most probably across the policing world. A police officers’ work is undoubtedly more complex, incredibly difficult and takes its toll on our physical and mental health.

It is also pleasing to see the Government implement all the recommendations that the independent pay review body has recommended. As we will remember this hasn’t always been the case in the recent past.

This process has going forward always got to be respected by Governments of all colours, in terms of our unique status in society and the lack of ability to take industrial action unlike many other public sector workers.

PFEW had asked for 5% but in the current climate it was highly unlikely that this was going to be achievable. At least this would have gone a small way towards the 18% real times to policed pay that we’ve lost over the last decade under the guise of austerity. Other public sector workers did receive higher pay rises and I am not criticising this as it is deserved. My colleagues have yet again all stepped up to the mark and gone above and beyond during this Covid-19 crisis showing their skills, compassion and bravery.

It is clearly in the gift of the Government and the Pay Review Body to award my colleagues a higher pay rise as was the case for teachers and doctors. We also must not forget that MP’s received a 3.1% pay rise in April this year.

My colleagues have been on the frontline of this Corona virus crisis, having to deal with an exponential rise in assaults upon officers particularly the abhorrent act of spitting at us and then weaponising the Coronavirus by threatening they have the this awful virus and will infect officers. 

All this in addition to the plethora of other things we deal with such as investigations into crimes to missing persons, arresting dangerous criminals, cyber and online crimes, trying to support and protect people with mental health issues, transportation of very sick people to hospital when no ambulances are available. This is the tip of the iceberg. 

However it is clear from statements made by the Chancellor recently that public sector pay awards are likely to become even more restrained in the coming years.

As previously mentioned we suffered with an 18% real terms cuts in our pay under the guise of austerity.  So with this in mind it is even more important that we as officers representative body continue to make the strongest possible case for fair pay rises.

We also need to think of other innovative ways in making a police officer’s pay and conditions relevant as well as attractive. I know I will work flat out locally on behalf of the officers I represent here in Norfolk on a whole host of matters in addition to pay.  And I am certain that PFEW will, with local branch support, continue to influence with a well thought out case with evidence directly to the Government and Pay Review Body.