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Sussex Police Federation

Federation Chairman: Pausing police officer pay is a betrayal of all their hard work and sacrifice

26 November 2020

Freezing the pay of millions of public sector workers – including police officers - is a betrayal of their hard work in the effort to combat Covid-19, the Chairman of Sussex Police Federation has said.

The Government announced a public sector pay freeze in yesterday’s Spending Review to help cover the UK’s deficit in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

Nurses and doctors will be exempt from the future pay freeze, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said. Those in the public sector earning under £24,000 will still get pay rise of at least £250 he told Parliament.

Daren Egan, Chairman of Sussex Police Federation, said: “The Government’s decision of a pay “pause” for police officers in 2021 - otherwise known as a pay freeze - is a betrayal of all their hard work and sacrifice made policing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The vast majority of officers will now face yet another pay cut, after years of austerity it means in real terms a reduction in pay of 18%.

“Ironically some officers will get the additional £250 for the being in lowest paid workers, to me this says it all when it comes to the current poor state of police officers’ pay.”

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.

Daren added: “When the pandemic began I saw the uncertainty and often fear in my colleagues faces, they had their own families to protect and we were asking them to carry on, getting hands on with criminals, mostly without sufficient masks or any protection.

“Not once did I see any officer turn away from their responsibilities to keep us all safe - after 26 years policing on the front line it was a humbling experience and makes me proud to be a police officer.  

“We all know that the country is in financial difficulty, but rather than doing the right thing by rewarding all front line workers who have dealt with this pandemic face to face, this Government has rewarded some and penalised others.

“This divisive pay freeze excludes doctors and nurses, but penalises others including police officers, prison officers and care workers who also continue to work through this pandemic, putting theirs and their families lives at risk of contracting Covid-19 to protect and care for others.

“It’s a disgraceful decision.”  

During the last recession, from 2011, public sector workers were subjected to a pay freeze and then a pay cap for a number of years.

This resulted in an 18% real-terms pay cut for hard working police officers.

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.