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Norfolk Police Federation

The announcement of a police officer pay freeze is difficult to swallow, says Federation Chair

25 November 2020

A pay rise for police officers is to be "paused" next year the Chancellor has told the House of Commons today.

"I cannot justify an across the board pay increase for all public sector workers," Rishi Sunak said.

Doctors and nurses to still get a pay rise. Those in the public sector earning under £24,000 will still get pay rise of at least £250 he tells Parliament.

Mr Sunak did tell MPs that “pay progressions and promotions will carry on” in the public sector which should refer to police officers who receive/are scheduled to receive incremental rises.

Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “The announcement by this Government that public sector workers are now subject of a pay freeze is one which is difficult to swallow for police officers I represent.

“Officers are all too aware of the impacts of the pandemic in terms of our communities and the countries financial position. My colleagues have been on the front line of this pandemic much like many other public sector workers.

“But let’s not balance the books on the back of public sector workers particularly police officers. We should grow our way out of this crisis not be freezing the wages of police officers who’ve put their lives at risk as well as the safety of their family by policing the pandemic.”

He added: “I’ve spoken to the many officers who’ve been spat at full in the face by people who then threaten they have Covid-19. In the first three months of the pandemic, assaults against police officers went up 21%.

“For the last 8 months officers have worked tirelessly to combat the scourge of Covid-19, which include policing protests and illegal raves.

“But we can’t forget that even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, officers have continued policing the entire array of work that the police have to deal with. Protecting the vulnerable from all types of crime by safeguarding them and locking up criminals. Finding missing people, dealing with RTC’s, firearms incidents and bearing down on drug dealers and organised crime groups.

“Living standards for police officers and many others are today still no better than in 2008. Officers have only recently come out of the last period of austerity from 2010, in which we saw a real terms drop of 18% in our pay and included pay freezes. This freeze simply compounds this issue and is simply wrong and unfair.

“This freeze will hit those that have sacrificed the most and have been on the front-line of this pandemic. Officers like other public sector workers are the stitching that keeps the fabric of our communities together. The Government rightly applauded public sector workers in how we’ve worked through this hellish last 8 months. Now they have rewarded us by turning their backs on exactly the people who have flat out to support our country through these immensely difficult times.

“It has to be remembered that we have a very young workforce within policing which means we have many young in service officers. This means that when they join the police service their hourly rate is £11.88.

“Police officers do not join the service to make lots of money they join the service as a vocation and believe in helping their communities by policing them. All we expect in return is to be treated fairly by the Government. We have never asked for huge pay awards but fair and appropriate ones which are evidenced.

This announcement of the freeze is neither fair or appropriate, it’s the opposite. It will simply demoralise officers further.”

Parliament heard how £400+ million will be provided to recruit 6,000 police officers Mr Sunak added. "Well on track to recruit 20,000."

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds referenced how hollow the Chancellor "clapping for carers" during the first lock down now was.

She added: “Firefighters, police officers and teachers will know their spending power is going down… many key workers who took on so much responsibility during this crisis are now being forced to tighten their belts.”

She compared this to the “bonanza” for private companies who have won PPE contracts from the Government this year.