Government urged to ‘do the right thing’ on officer pay

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe has urged the Government to  “do the right thing” over police pay after new figures revealed a 7.4 per cent increase in UK average pay.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 8.8 per cent, while it was 7.4 per cent for regular pay (excluding bonuses) between April and June.

ONS deputy statistician Jonathan Athow said the figures were evidence the “world of work continues to rebound robustly”.

But the figures have sparked fresh calls for Priti Patel to reconsider her “insulting” offer to police officers who, according to the Police Federation, will be “fully justified in feeling further betrayed” by the pay freeze.

Steve said: “This is just another kick in the teeth to the hard-working men and women who have been putting their lives on the line to protect our communities throughout the pandemic.

“Our members were told there would be no pay rise this year because people working in the private sector were facing reduced hours, suppressed earnings and increased redundancies while the public sector had been largely shielded from these effects.

“That argument has clearly been blown out of the water by these figures so the Government must now come up with a reasonable pay offer which recognises the incredible sacrifices police officers and their families have been expected to make over the last 18 months.

“The ridiculous claims that the pay freeze ensures fairness between public and private sector wage growth are no longer valid so we expect a new statement from the Home Secretary outlining a new offer in the very near future.

“Anything less would be a sign of  the utter contempt in which the Government holds its police officers and that is simply unacceptable.

“Our bitter opposition to this unfair pay freeze has already been made crystal clear and these figures from the ONS only add to the sense of anger, frustration and betrayal felt by our members.

“The time has now come for the Government to do the right thing and properly reward the men and women who have served at the frontline of this pandemic with dedication, courage and professionalism.”

Police Federation of England and Wales national vice-chair Ché Donald also reacted with anger when the figures were released.

He said: “My colleagues will be dismayed by the news that some sectors are clearly receiving sky high wage rises while police officers receive nothing. They will be fully justified in feeling further betrayed by the unfairness of this news.

“Police officers who were on the frontline of the pandemic have already seen firefighters and local government workers in England given a 1.5 per cent increase.

“The ONS has now said the UK employment situation has been rebounding ‘robustly,’ and this new data will be viewed as further evidence all sectors were not treated equally by this government.

“It is yet another example of why we have lost confidence in a government which deliberately took full advantage of our unique status as public servants without the same employment rights as other members of society.”
The Police Federation has passed a motion of no confidence in the Home Secretary and withdrew its support of the Police Remuneration Review Body.