Two per cent pay rise ‘grossly inadequate’

The Federation is warning Government that a two per pay rise this year would be grossly inadequate and a further slap in the face to police officers.

Steve Treharne, chair of the South Wales Federation, said: “I’m troubled by the suggestion from the Home Office that an uplift of ‘at least two per cent’ could be considered by the pay review body in the 2022/23 financial year.

“I would like to think that this is an absolute minimum, and the final award would be considerably higher, but we’ve learned from bitter experience to be cynical. To be clear, anything that does not keep pace with inflation – which is currently at 5.4 per cent - would be a pay cut to all intents and purposes and a slap in the face to hard-working police officers.

“Our hard-working officers cannot continue to have their pay effectively reduced year on year. It is appalling that since 2010 our officers have suffered real terms cuts since 2010 in excess of 20 per cent if we consider the freeze last year with the current inflationary figures. Inflation is predicted to remain high for this year and should our officers receive only a two per cent pay rise it will be a further real term cuts to their wages and will push us towards an overall reduction of close to 25 per cent.

“The police service has sustained the highest cuts to wages in real terms across the whole of the public sector and this is outrageous. All police officers want is a fair and truly independent pay review mechanism, to reflect the lack of employment rights afforded to much of society.

“It is ironic that the Home Secretary has referenced that there needs to be careful consideration of any wage increase to ensure the affordability of the current officer uplift  of 20,000 officers, to replace those that were cut under this Government. The irony is that this Government chose to cut officer numbers by over 20,000, despite the whole of policing telling them that there would be consequences to our service and communities.

He added: “The consequences have led to a rise in crime and the decision was made to increase numbers back to what they were previously. This has created the situation where officers have had to sustain significant cuts to our numbers, but to now replace the numbers we have lost, we have to face in effect continual wage reductions to get us back to where we once were. How perverse is this situation? This follows a decade of pay freezes and below inflation rises.”

Steve urged the Home Office to “think very carefully” and do the “decent thing” or continue to see more officers leaving the service. Police officers needs to have confidence that there is a fair and truly independent process to look at pay, not one that is in effect dictated by Government, he argued.

The national Federation’s recent pay and morale survey revealed more than one in 10 officers regularly struggle to cover the cost of essential items.

Disenchantment with current pay was also clear, with a 92 per cent of officers saying they do not feel fairly paid for the stresses and strain of their job, while 66 per cent said they were unfairly paid compared to other key workers.

National vice-chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales Ché Donald said: “Our recent survey made clear the financial pressure on police officers, their families and the stress this puts on them just to make ends meet, this is not anecdotal evidence, it is empirical.

“All police officers want is fair and equitable treatment in relation to pay, this recommendation of two per cent comes at a time when inflation is running at five per cent, with National Insurance increases and spikes in energy prices.

“We will continue to advance our plans to challenge this pay mechanism, which quite frankly, is nothing short of subjugation and servitude.”