MPs back Federation on officer pay

Seven Welsh MPs including Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds have signed an open letter calling on Home Secretary Priti Patel to reconsider a decision to freeze officer pay.

The letter has also been signed by Jessica Morden (Labour, Newport East), Wayne David (Lab, Caerphilly), Chris Evans (Lab, Islwyn), Gerald Jones (Lab, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney), Nick Smith (Lab, Blaenau Gwent) and Ruth Jones (Lab, Newport West) as well as Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe.

He explained: “The Government’s decision to freeze police officer pay has been met with disappointment by members of the Police Federation of England and Wales. Therefore we approached our local MPs in the hope they would support this open letter to the Home Secretary.

“We are pleased that so many of them came on board to offer their support and add weight to our calls for this decision to be reconsidered.”

The letter calls for a complete reset of the relationship between the Government and the police, a meaningful pay rise for officers and a fairer system for considering police pay.

It states: “Police officers have shown incredible commitment and professionalism throughout the pandemic, putting their lives on the line to protect their communities. They have had to deal with rapidly changing Covid rules, media criticism and rising levels of abuse and assaults from members of the public. They are not immune to the financial pressures the country faces due to the pandemic, however, when other sectors are receiving a pay award, it is deeply disappointing they are being expected to accept a pay freeze.

“Sadly, this is now about much more than money. Officers took risks, because it is their duty - without proper PPE. They policed endlessly changing Covid legislation, because it is their duty. And they endured increasing abuse and attacks doing so, because it is their duty.  We ask that you show your support and protect the protectors - so that we can properly protect the public.

“We know there are many pressures, political and financial, on the Prime Minister and Chancellor. But we hope you agree that good relations between the Government and the police are essential not just in the fight against crime, but in ensuring a strong and cohesive society a such a difficult time for the country.”

Some of the MPs who signed the letter have also visited Gwent Police Federation’s offices in New Inn with other MPs to discuss the issues facing officers with the branch officials, while others have attended individually.

“We are grateful to the MPs for supporting not just the Federation on the issue of pay but also the officers who police their communities,” says Steve, “We had an interesting meeting. The MPs took on board the issues we raised on behalf of members and we hope they speak up on their behalf whenever they can.”

CAPTION: At the Gwent Police Federation office are (left to right) Ruth Jones, Nick Thomas-Symonds, Federation workplace representative Jitka Tomkova-Griffiths, Chris Evans and Jessica Morden.