Cautious welcome to pay freeze

The chair of South Wales Police Federation has called on the Chancellor to guarantee police officers will receive a pay rise next year that will factor in the cost of living.

Steve Treharne gave a cautious welcome to Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget announcement in which he signalled the end of the public sector pay freeze.

And he said that next year’s pay rise must be above inflation or it will be another cut in real terms to officers’ wages.

Steve said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of an end to his public sector pay freeze, but for it to be a thaw we have to see a real-terms pay rise for our colleagues – one that takes into account the rising cost of living.

“We’ve seen police officers pay go down over the last decade in real terms and now we’re facing rising inflation and the threat of interest rate rises – all of which is impacting our members and their finances.

“We want the Chancellor to commit to a substantial pay rise for our members that takes into account those factors because anything less will be seen as another pay cut, and that’s unacceptable.”

Steve has also called for steps to be taken to ensure policing has a truly impartial pay review process.

“The current framework allows the Government to dictate and shackle the decisions of our pay review body and this is not fair or just. Police officers have been treated appallingly when it comes to pay awards or, more to the point, the lack of them since 2010. Officers have fared far worse than other public sector workers over the same period and have absorbed a significant real terms cut of close to 20 per cent since 2010,” he explained.

The Federation’s national vice-chair, Ché Donald, has called on the Government to level up police pay so inflation is taken into account, and to make sure they receive a fair wage for an increasingly difficult job.

“Police officers were shoddily treated by this Government and rewarded for their dedication and professionalism during the pandemic with a zero per cent increase, which was a real terms pay cut,” said Ché.

“While we welcome the Chancellor’s decision to end the unfair pay freeze for some public sector workers, this must result in an increase of more than the four per cent inflation figure he predicted for 2022, if it is to make a positive difference.

“As well as a real term pay increase, we urgently need a fair pay mechanism which is independent of Government interference and delivers a binding outcome to restore trust and faith in the police pay process as anything less is just populist political fanfare.”