Angry Police Federation officials said they will no longer cooperate with the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) after the Government announced it was pressing ahead with its controversial pay freeze for officers.
The Federation has also declared it no longer has confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel who confirmed the pay freeze just weeks after telling officers, at the national Federation conference, that she had got their backs.
South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne said there was a growing sense of anger among members who felt betrayed by the Government after showing such dedication to duty throughout the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “Our members have had such a tough year with the pandemic, street protests and a disgraceful rise in the number of assaults on officers. Throughout all this, they have continued to show the dedication, courage and professionalism that is expected of them, often in the face of criticism from members of the public.
“Priti Patel was full of praise for the police when she gave her speech to the Police Federation conference last month and told officers she had their backs.
“The same officers, who literally put their lives on the line every day, are now being told there is no pay rise this year.
“They deserve better and feely very badly let down by the Government and the pay review process.”
Steve pointed out that since 2010 police officers have sustained the greatest real term cuts to their salaries when compared to other public sector workers.
“There is, however, the one group of special workers who have had a positive wage return over and above inflation since 2010 – and that is MPs,” he explained, “When the pay body for MPs recommends significant increases for them, they say they are powerless to overturn their independent body. But when it comes to our ‘supposedly’ independent body they are able to dictate what should be recommended. It is incredible arrogance.”
Police Federation national chair John Apter said: “The PRRB is not truly independent, the body which is the only mechanism we have to consider any pay award for police officers, has its hands constantly tied by the Government who continually interfere. The PRRB itself recognises its lack of independence.
“We can no longer accept this and have no confidence in this system which is why we are walking away.
“We often hear the Home Secretary praise police officers but our members are so angry with this Government. They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing.
“At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination. They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw.
“As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current Home Secretary. I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”
In a statement issued after today’s extraordinary National Council meeting, the Police Federation said: “For too long PFEW has also been forced to enter into an unfair pay process with the odds weighted firmly in the favour of the Government.
“The PRRB’s lack of independence is something the body recognises itself and even highlights in its report.
“With inflation set to increase to almost four per cent later this year, this is yet another real-terms pay cut for police officers in England and Wales and a huge slap in the face for our members who have been attacked and vilified while holding the frontline during this pandemic.
“PFEW has tried its level best to be entirely co-operative in all dealings with the Government. But this Government and this Home Secretary, for all their talk of how much they value what we do, have made this impossible. They cannot be trusted or taken at face value in the way we would expect.
“As the undisputed voice of policing we say this to the Home Secretary: you cannot pat our members on the back for their heroic efforts with one hand, while effectively taking their pay with the other. Warm words are no longer enough.”