Cabinet agrees pay rises for police officers as end in sight for seven-year cap

Rank and file officers have been left “angry and deflated” after the Government finally announced the lifting of its long-standing one per cent annual cap on public sector pay from next year.

Sep 12, 2017

Rank and file officers have been left “angry and deflated” after the Government finally announced the lifting of its long-standing one per cent annual cap on public sector pay from next year. Police officers were directed to head of the queue today for an immediate two per cent award, half of which is ‘non-consolidated’ – only one per cent will be added to pay and be pensionable. But despite approving the above pay cap increase for 2017/18 ministers ignored the immediate pleas of the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) for a consolidated rise of two per cent to “all pay points” for federated and superintending ranks. The final award – ironically announced on the day inflation hit 2.9 per cent – was well short of the “compelling evidence” provided by staff associations to support the 2.8 per cent recommendations in line with the average projected Retail Prices Index increase for 2017. The Treasury, in announcing that the pay award would be “funded within existing budgets” left policing feeling that it would have to dip into reserves to pay for the settlement, again holding back recruitment in key areas where the service is struggling. The National Police Chiefs` Council (NPPC) said forces had budgeted in line with the public sector pay cap until 2020 – so worryingly the increase will add to the “financial pressure on already stretched budgets” and could lead to jobs being lost. NPCC Lead for Pay and Conditions, Chief Constable Francis Habgood, said: “On average, police officer pay makes up over 50 per cent of total force budgets, which have had real terms cuts of 18 per cent since 2010.” And he warned: “Without better real terms funding protection from government, an award above one per cent will inevitably impact on our ability to deliver policing services and maintain staffing levels.” The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) maintains that officers have “borne the brunt of extreme cuts for far too long” and the ‘half-and-half’ settlement did nothing to allay the fears expressed in the PRRB’s third report that the Government should not place the burden of making savings “solely, or disproportionately” on the pay structure of officers. “We were not greedy in what we asked for. Officers have been taking home about 15 per cent less than they were seven years ago,” the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) chair Steve White told Police Professional. He said: “Today’s headline announcement of a two per cent pay award will leave many angry and deflated,” adding: “We don’t feel that non-consolidated pay awards are the way forward.” The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) welcomed the increase but hinted that discussions are ongoing into how the award would be funded. “PCCs are working with police chiefs and engaging with the Home Office to ensure that the service is resourced appropriately going forward,” said APCC Workforce Lead Ron Hogg. Home Secretary Amber Rudd talked of the “extraordinary” contribution made by officers responding to “some of the most challenging situations faced for a very long time” before giving her verdict on the pay award as “striking a fair balance for police forces, officers and taxpayers”. She added: “We want to reward and attract the very best police officers within the resources we have, whilst making the right decisions for the economy overall. “We believe it is affordable within the current police funding settlement.” She pointed out that the independent PRRB had highlighted the potential for further efficiencies in the service, forces have increased their reserves from £1.4 billion in 2011 to £1.8 billion in 2016, and police spending has been protected in real terms since 2015. Looking to the future was something highlighted by the PRRB report. One of its main recommendations called on the Government to take a “longer term view” on police pay in the light of changing economic circumstances. The PRRB recommended the introduction of appropriate, targeted arrangements in 2017/18 to allow

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