Gwent Police Federation representatives have expressed mixed views after delegates at this year’s conference voted in favour of increasing Federation subscriptions.
While chair Steve Thorpe has said he could not justify a rise, especially considering the financial struggles expressed by members, branch secretary Annalea Kift admits she is mindful that subs have only risen once in the last decade and hopes the price increase helps to secure the future of the Federation.
She explained: “I would have agreed not having an increase but it was submitted that it will only be in line with any pay increase given to officers by the Government.
“I am mindful that subs have only risen once in the last decade and that an increase of two per cent, for example, roughly equates to 30p per month.
“We are all seeing costs increase because of soaring inflation and as our costs go up so does those of the Police Federation of England and Wales. I want to make sure there is a strong, if not stronger, viable Federation for our members long after I have gone.”
In contrast, Steve countered the rise in subs, saying: “My rationale is simple, I couldn’t personally justify a rise, when we are very lucky and get an opportunity to attend hotels for meetings and conferences.
“Our members are struggling and the cost of living is out of control, organisationally we should be setting an example and the forecast is matters will stabilise in 12 - 24 months, then we should have discussed a rise in subs in my view.”
After the conference motion was supported, a Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) statement was issued.
It said: “With the current cost of living crisis, last year’s pay freeze and without knowing if our members will receive an increase in their pay this year or not, now is not the time to increase Police Federation of England and Wales subscriptions.
“PFEW, however, is also facing increased costs. Soaring inflation, upcoming litigation and the financial health of our National Reserves Fund means we need to at least start to have an open and honest conversation on this subject with Federation representatives to make sure that there is a strong, viable Federation fighting for our members for years to come.”
The Federation said the conference gave the perfect opportunity to open the conversation surrounding subscription rates, which have only increased once in the last decade.
The statement continued: “On such an important issue, PFEW took the view conference delegates should be given the opportunity to hear the rationale for any proposed future increase in subscriptions immediately.
“We care passionately about the views of our members which is why hearing from delegates at conference – their representatives – on this matter was vital. On that basis, it was agreed to bring a motion to conference this year for discussion.”
The conference motion looked at future options for an increase in subscriptions on the basis that it would only be introduced once it has been confirmed by the Government that members will receive a pay increase.
As a result of the motion, the conference supported increasing the rate of all types of Federation subscriptions effective from 1 September 2022, in line with the percentage uplift to police pay for 2022/2023.
A total of 221 delegates voted for a rise in subscription costs, with 170 voting against.