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Wiltshire Police Federation

Numbers don’t lie – Government’s claims and the reality of police pay

10 August 2022

Polfed News

On 19 July the Government announced the police pay award for 2022-23 and the Home Office was quick to issue an upbeat statement stating that the Government recognised concerns around the rising cost-of-living pressures. It also claimed that “the Government has targeted wider support for the cost of living to those most in need”.

Based on the initial analysis undertaken by PFEW, I countered the Government’s claim, stating: “Officers have already faced two years of a blanket pay freeze, a 20 per cent real terms pay cut since 2010, and now face huge additional cost-of-living pressures. PFEW believe that the Government ‘still has a long way to go’ to demonstrate they’re treating officers with the dignity and respect they deserve, despite the positive step forward of accepting the Police Remuneration Review Body’s (PRRB) recommendations in full.”

It is common knowledge that the unprecedented surge in cost of living has been affected by 40-year high inflation and exorbitant fuel prices affecting supply chains and day-to-day living. The Government claims to have addressed the crisis by claiming “the pay award is equivalent to 5 per cent overall.” 

However, analysis demonstrates that a rise in inflation means a real-terms, divisive pay cut across ranks.

The pay rise will come into effect on 1 September and the Bank of England (BOE) expects Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation to rise to 13.3 per cent in October. To put the BOE’s projection in perspective – the CPI rose by 9.4 per cent in the 12 months to June 2022, up from 9.1 per cent in May; and in the preceding month of April, CPI rose by 2.5 per cent in comparison to a rise of 0.6 per cent in April 2021.

As of October this year, it is estimated that there will be a 30.3 per cent real terms pay cut for constables at the bottom pay point of the pay scale and an 18.5 per cent real terms pay cut for constables at the top pay point of the pay scale. For sergeants at the top point of the pay scale, the estimated real terms pay drop will be 18.9 per cent. For inspectors at the top of the pay scale, the real terms pay drop will be 19.5 per cent, and for chief inspectors at the top point of the pay scale the real terms pay drop will be 19.7 per cent.

The pay award neither takes into account the huge real-terms pay cut officers have taken over the last decade, nor the fact that police officers do not have the same industrial and employment rights as enjoyed by other workers.

Police officers do not look for praise from the Government, they want the Government to be sensitive about their contributions to their communities and sacrifices made in the line of duty to protect the public. Recognising the danger police officers put themselves in day in and day out, and the increasing workload detectives manage to keep crime at bay, alongside every contribution made to keep society safe.

The independence of the PRRB must be upheld and not influenced by the Government by way of a remit to enable officers to have a fair pay mechanism, and the P-factor payment exclusive to policing must be included to ensure officers are paid fairly for the risks they take. 

We seek assurances from the Government that next year the PRRB will not be restrained by an unfair remit set by the Home Office, and that the unsustainable real-terms pay cut is addressed to ensure our members can afford to do the job they signed up for.

We asked for a reset of relations with the Government, which is needed to ensure that the voice of our members is heard loud and clear at all levels of the Government every time decisions are made affecting their day-to-day lives.