‘PRRB must be independent’

South Wales Police Federation is backing calls for the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) to be allowed to keep its independence and operate without Government influence.

Branch chair Steve Treharne said the PRRB should be free to reach its own recommendations through a fair pay mechanism which includes the P-factor payment exclusive to policing to ensure members are paid fairly for the risks they take.

The calls come after analysis of the recently-announced police award for 2022/23 found most officers will once again be left out of pocket despite claims of an average five per cent uplift.

Steve said: “Police pay has been continually supressed since 2010, firstly under the banner of austerity, then Covid and now inflationary pressures. It would seem that there will always be something coming along the pipe which Government will use as an excuse to make our officers poorer and poorer each year. I would ask the question to Government as to how far back police officers pay can fall in real terms?

“The whole system of working out police pay is in desperate need of reform and until a fully independent PRRB or some such similar organisation develops a new mechanism we are going to be trapped in this annual cycle of real terms pay cuts. Police officers do not have the mechanism of full industrial rights at their disposal and policing is unique in this aspect. The trade-off for our members is one where there must be a truly independent pay review body, a body which is able to make binding recommendations free from Government interference. This is the only route by which our members can have confidence in the pay process.

“Whatever spin the Home Office tries to put on it, the 2022/23 settlement is just another pay cut and comes on top of all the other below inflation awards we have received over the years.

“And for officers at the higher end of the pay scales it is the biggest real terms cut to wages for officers for years.

“There was no pay rise last year so the figure this year can be averaged out over two years and that means we have the largest drop in wages when set against inflation. Some of our members will be suffering real terms cuts of five per cent.

“We have launched a campaign for fair pay and that fight will go on.”

Steve continued: “The Home Office was quick to issue an upbeat statement on how the Government had recognised concerns around the rising cost of living pressures and was targeting wider support to those most in need when the Government unveiled its pay offer.

“It claimed to have addressed the crisis by claiming the pay award was equivalent to five per cent overall but the Police Federation said soaring rates of inflation meant, in real terms, the offer amounts to a divisive pay cut across the ranks.”

The Police Federation calculations point to a 30.3 per cent real terms pay cut for constables at the bottom pay point of the pay scale and an 18.5 per cent real terms pay cut for constables at the top pay point of the pay scale.

For sergeants at the top point of the pay scale, the estimated real terms pay drop will be 18.9 per cent. For inspectors at the top of the pay scale, the real terms pay drop will be 19.5 per cent, and for chief inspectors at the top point of the pay scale the real terms pay drop will be 19.7 per cent.

National Federation chair Steve Hartshorn insisted members deserved proper recognition for the dangers they were exposed to and the increasing workload detectives manage to keep crime at bay.

He said: “Police officers do not look for praise from the Government, they want the Government to be sensitive about their contributions to their communities and sacrifices made in the line of duty to protect the public.

“We seek assurances from the Government that next year the PRRB will not be restrained by an unfair remit set by the Home Office, and that the unsustainable real terms pay cut is addressed to ensure our members can afford to do the job they signed up for.”