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Sussex Police Federation

PFEW no longer has confidence in the current Home Secretary

22 July 2021

Police Federation of England and Wales - the body representing 130,000 police officers - "no longer has confidence in the current Home Secretary" following zero police officer pay rise in 2021

Daren Egan, Chairman of Sussex Police Federation, explains why…

Today police officers will be digesting the news that the Government has excluded them from any reward or recognition for their hard work in policing the pandemic.

Unlike our equally hard working colleagues in the NHS (3% pay rise ) and Firefighters/Local Government workers (1.5% pay rise) the vast majority of Police Officers will receive no additional pay for their efforts. Police Officers the length and breadth of the Country will feel badly let down by the Home Secretary today. 

Only a few weeks ago at our Annual Conference the Home Secretary said the following.

“Without you, we would not have dealt so many recent blows to serious and organised crime, including Operation Venetic - the UK’s biggest ever law enforcement operation.

“Without you, our drive to dismantle county lines drugs gangs would not have yielded such incredible results.

“Without you, thousands of weapons would not have been taken off our streets, as we crack down on serious violence.

“Without you, we could not combat terrorism.

“Without you, more young people would make bad choices and ruin lives, including their own.

“Without you, the public would not feel safe.

“Without you, criminals would run riot and this country would fall apart.

“Our country depends on you.

“And I have got your backs.”

Shallow words indeed.

Let’s not forget that from the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago front line police officers have been excluded from receiving the vaccine, unvaccinated officers initially with insufficient masks did not have the choice to protect themselves by self-distancing from the public or to isolate.

On the contrary during two waves of the coronavirus, unvaccinated officers had no choice but to physically enforce this Government’s lockdown, no matter the high risk of infection to themselves the government’s legislation and direction exposed them to.

During this time assaults on police officers went up 17%, just one on may indicators of what officers have had to deal with. I defy anybody to disagree that Police Officers have gone above and beyond during this pandemic to keep us all safe, putting their own lives and those of their families at significant risk. They have delivered on every level and the British public should be rightly proud of their efforts. However, it is clear, that despite the warm words and platitudes the Home Secretary does not value Police Officers.

She failed to protect Police Officers when we called for them to be vaccinated. She tied the hands of the Police Remuneration Review Body and prevented what is supposed to be an independent body from awarding a richly deserved pay increase to our colleagues.

Her interference has rendered the PRRB a meaningless negotiating process and as long as there remains interference from government we can no longer have confidence that Police Officers will be treated fairly in relation to their pay. We no longer have trust in the mechanism for determining our annual pay awards, we have therefore unanimously decided at an Emergency National Council meeting today to withdraw our support and engagement with the PRRB.

What has been made crystal clear is that under this current Government Police officers are put at unnecessary risk and are at a serious disadvantage to the rest of the public sector workers who have certain rights and entitlements under current employment legislation, this fact alone appears to ensure the government treats them differently, including pay.

What most members of the public will be unaware of is that police officers are prohibited by law from disagreeing and saying no, or enough is enough, any attempt to do so, e.g. amongst a group of unhappy officers, could fall foul of criminal sanction under section 91 of the Police Act 1996 which relates to disaffection and ironically they could be arrested themselves, have no doubt that this unscrupulous government knows this and without a shred of decency is taking full advantage of it.

Going forward, this has shown we can’t count on the Government to be fair, without a moral compass they have shown their complete disdain for hard working Police officers and their families.

To single out police officers from a pay award and cast them aside is absolutely disgraceful and unforgiveable. Police Officers can no longer have any faith whatsoever in the Home Secretary who fails deliver on her warm words and promises, so at the emergency National Council meeting today all Federations across England and Wales agreed to a unanimous vote of No Confidence in the Home Secretary.