90 days from today is Tue, 25 January 2022
22 July 2021
The announcement of a police pay freeze has been the final straw for officers who are angry at the way in which the Government has repaid their commitment to serving their communities during the pandemic, according to the national chair of the Police Federation.
At an extraordinary meeting of the Federation’s National Council this morning in the wake of the confirmation of the pay cap yesterday, it has announced it no longer has confidence in the Home Secretary and that it will be withdrawing support and engagement from the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB).
National chair John Apter said: “The PRRB is not truly independent, the body which is the only mechanism we have to consider any pay award for police officers, has its hands constantly tied by the Government which continually interferes.
“The PRRB itself recognises its lack of independence. We can no longer accept this and have no confidence in this system which is why we are walking away.
“We often hear the Home Secretary praise police officers but our members are so angry with this Government. They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing. At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination. They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw. As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current Home Secretary. I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”
Darren Harris, chair of Suffolk Police Federation, has already hit out at the pay freeze and earlier today called for an overhaul of the pay review process.
He explained: “The news that there will be no pay rise this year is a bitter blow to officers. Throughout the pandemic, they have carried on with a business as usual approach in circumstances that have been far from normal. They have put their own health at risk while serving their communities, dealing with all the regular calls for assistance, fighting crime, keeping order and protecting the vulnerable. They have also had to adapt to seemingly ever-changing Covid-19 regulations and restrictions, often at short notice, and police in what have been incredibly challenging times.
“While doing that they have been assaulted, spat at and coughed over by individuals claiming to have coronavirus. The Government has made much of saying it appreciates their efforts and only last month Home Secretary Priti Patel claimed, once again, to ‘have our backs’. Quite frankly, if this represents a Home Secretary who has got our backs then I would dread to think what it would be like if she didn’t – would we be facing a pay cut?
“But what is particularly galling is that the PRRB is supposed to be an independent organisation that reviews evidence submitted by interested parties, such as the Police Federation and the Superintendents’ Association, and yet it is clearly told what it can and can’t do.
“This year, its remit from the Government meant that it could not recommend a pay lift in keeping with the Government’s decision to pause pay reviews for the majority of the public sector which clearly included police officers.”
The Federation has criticised Home Secretary Priti Patel’s claim that the Government ‘recognises the bravery, commitment and professionalism’ of police officers, while offering no improved financial package to members to illustrate that is the case. It says there is enormous anger within policing, with officers across England and Wales saying the Government takes them for granted and treats them with contempt.
During the National Council meeting, Federation representatives overwhelmingly supported a vote of no confidence in the Home Secretary and the PRRB process for police officer pay.
With inflation set to increase to almost four per cent later this year, the pay freeze is yet another real-terms pay cut for police officers in England and Wales and the Federation says it is ‘a huge slap in the face for our members’ who it points out have been attacked and vilified while holding the frontline during the pandemic.
The Federation says the Government cannot pat officers on the back for their heroic efforts with one hand while effectively taking their pay with the other.