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Sussex Police Federation

Sussex Police Federation Chair Daren Egan Blogs on Police Officer pay – after the announcement of the 2022/23 rise this week.

21 July 2022

“When I met our Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year, we spoke about poor Police pay and he said to me “be patient”, and patient we have been, particularly difficult as for the past two years Police officers have been the only emergency service workers on a pay freeze.

“Finally, Police officers have been given a £1,900 pay award, some will say any pay award for us is obviously a step in the right direction and it is, however rather than a fair and simple pay rise for all, this pay award is divisive in nature by being more beneficial to new officers whilst penalising longer serving experienced officers who get a lesser percentage rise to their pay.

“Sadly, what it also shows is where the priority lies… bums on seats. We now have the unique status of where having more experience and knowledge as a Police officer counts for less.”

Daren added: “Last week as I sat in Crown Court waiting to give evidence I had some time to contemplate the prospect of Police pay and what the Federation with all the restrictions placed upon us can do to enable meaningful negotiation with Government over pay.

“Unfortunately it’s near impossible at the moment as the PRRB is a worthless non-binding mechanism that facilitated a 20% drop in pay, hence the reason the Federation withdrew from it.

“Ironically the reason I was waiting in court and not actually giving evidence was that our barristers had gone on strike for more pay. It has not been lost on any Police officer that due to their industrial action barristers got a 15% pay award… there ends the lesson.

“As a police service, I feel we are at a tipping point, with officers’ standard of living dropping through the floor, lack of access to affordable housing and a deteriorating work life balance. We find ourselves in a similar situation to our Police colleagues back in the 1970’s who worked under similar poor conditions/pay whilst being unable to join a trade union or take any strike action.

“This led to Lord Edmund-Davies heading a Committee of Inquiry into the Police, including pay. In its 1978 report to the then Government, the Committee recommended a major reevaluation of police pay – between 30 per cent to 45 per cent – while concluding that the police cannot be compared with any other group of public sector workers as “the unique nature of the police service and the work they do makes this impossible”, this fact hasn’t changed although subsequent Governments conveniently like to ignore it, even during a pandemic!

“It was only after a winter of discontent that in 1979 the Government implemented the full recommendations of the Edmund-Davies report.

“I fully support our new National Chairman Steve Hartshorn taking all legal means necessary to obtain a new independent Police negotiating mechanism for Police pay.

“This is vital as Police officers - unlike all other public sector workers - are disadvantaged being unable to join a trade union or take industrial action. Regionally I have been working with Sussex Police to see what further financial support can be given to struggling Sussex officers, the branch board have put forward two proposals for an increase to the south east allowance which is currently being considered.”