Officer pay is a massive issue, Federation tells Chancellor

South Wales Police Federation has warned officer pay continues to be a massive issue for members after national secretary Alex Duncan wrote to Rishi Sunak calling for a proper wage increase this year.

Branch chair Steve Treharne said years of cuts and underfunding had badly damaged morale across the Force and warned the Government should take urgent measures to improve the situation.

“Police officers have reached breaking point. It is simply not just in any reasonable society that so many police officers should be scrimping and saving so their families can make ends meet,” says Steve.

“They face a uniquely challenging job, and I would challenge our elected representatives to read the results of our devastating pay and morale survey and say that the direct actions of Government have not impacted negatively on the wellbeing and mental health of colleagues.”

He continued: “Police officers are realistic professionals who fully understand the public purse is not a bottomless pit. But the sheer unfairness of being snubbed for a deserved pay rise, added to rising inflation, the effects of austerity cuts and the pandemic plus, of course, the forthcoming impact of the National Insurance increase, will not be forgotten by our 130,000 plus members.

“The entire service is underfunded, and police officers have been totally undervalued by this Government, and therefore the relationship between those responsible for the public purse and those who serve the public has been damaged almost beyond repair. The Government has lost the trust of colleagues, and its wilfully negligent attitude towards pay and funding has been devastating to morale and could impact on the service’s capability for decades to come.”

Steve concluded: “We are calling on the Government to work with the Federation on a new and fairer system of remuneration decision-making to ensure officers receive a meaningful pay increase to make reparations for the years of real-terms cuts and to support policing, before we see even more officers leave their roles.”

In his letter to the Chancellor, Alex said police officers had faced increasing workloads and a real-terms pay cut of 20 per cent since 2010 and that there was now little difference between the hourly wage of a new starter and the national living wage. 

He warned that evidence suggested this was having a crippling effect on morale across the police service.

Alex highlighted the recent Police Federation pay and morale survey which found 92 per cent of members felt they were not fairly paid for the stresses and strains of their job, and 67 per cent said that they would not recommend joining the police to others.

He wrote: “We’re asking that you use the Spring Statement to guarantee a real-terms pay increase for our members this year.

“With morale so low this matters hugely for the ability of police forces to recruit and retain the skilled officers they need over the coming years. 

“The Prime Minister was elected on a promise to recruit additional officers. Without further action on pay, experienced officers will leave inexperienced recruits replacing them at best and, at worst, your Government’s recruitment target to recruit an additional 20,000 officers over three years will be missed entirely.

“It matters what kind of officers we’re able to recruit – we want the brightest and best to want to join the police – in service of their communities. 

“But this won’t be possible if potential new joiners believe police pay doesn’t fairly reflect the demands of the job.”

Alex said the Police Federation welcomed the announcement that the public sector pay freeze was coming to end but warned any pay increase below the rate of inflation would be an insult to members.

He wrote: “A decade of real-terms pay cuts has done damage to our police forces. Guaranteeing a real-terms pay increase for our members would show you’re finally treating officers with the respect that the British public demand and that they deserve.”

Read the letter.