Pay freeze: ‘Officers deserve to be treated better’

Confirmation of a bitterly-opposed officer pay freeze has been met with dismay by Gwent Police Federation.

The Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) published its annual report on officer pay yesterday.

Priti Patel, who last month promised Federation members “I have your backs”, said: “As set out at the Spending Review (2020), there will be a pause to headline pay rises for the majority of public sector workforces in 2021-22.

“This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the form of reduced hours, suppressed earnings growth and increased redundancies, whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects.”

Gwent Branch chair Steve Thorpe said members deserved more after the dedication they had displayed throughout the pandemic.

He said: “Priti Patel was very keen to let everyone know she had our backs when she gave her speech at the Federation conference last month. She was full of praise for the police officers who have been putting their lives on the line throughout the coronavirus pandemic and working in incredibly difficult conditions.

“Our members have had to adapt to the rapidly-changing Covid rules while facing the anger and frustration of the public. They have served this country with dedication, bravery and professionalism and frankly they deserve to be treated better.”

Police Federation of England and Wales national chair John Apter has criticised the pay cap and said the pay system was  “not fit for purpose”.

He said:  “Police officers have been on the front line of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see firefighters and local government workers in England given a 1.5 per cent increase while they receive nothing. 

“This is further evidence that not all public services are treated equally by this Government, and some are valued more than others.”

John said the national Federation will be consulting members on how to push for changes to the system for setting police pay.

He said: “The current pay system for policing is not fit for purpose. We are forced to enter into an inherently unfair process from the start, with the odds weighted firmly in favour of the Government where, it seems, a decision has already been made when they set the parameters for the pay review body.

“It is now essential that we review this process and look to find an alternative. A solution that has the best interests of police officer pay at heart. We will be seeking the views of our members and calling an urgent meeting with our 43 federation branches from across England and Wales to discuss our next steps.”

The Police Federation said officers had already suffered an 18 per cent pay cut in real terms within the space of a decade.