Federation report calls for ‘fair’ pay for all officers

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) in conjunction with the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA), is calling for a pay uplift of five per cent across all ranks, double the size of the pay award made last year.

Feb 7, 2020
By Tony Thompson
PFEW Chair John Apter

In a report submitted on Friday (February 7) to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) – the independent team that recommends to the government what pay increase police officers should receive – the two staff associations warn that ahead of an increase in numbers, it is more important than ever that officers are “paid a fair wage for the unique job they do”.

They claim that over the past ten years, when using the Consumer Price Index (including housing) method of calculating inflation, police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 8.7 per cent. This figure rises to 18 per cent when the Retail Price Index is used.

The most recent PFEW Pay and Morale survey found that only around one third of officers said they had enough money to cover their monthly essentials with one in eight admitting to seeking financial support in the past year.

The 143-page report, compiled by PFEW’s Research and Policy Support Department, also calls for the introduction of the P factor – additional pay that recognises the special conditions of service experienced by police officers compared with their civilian peers. The payment would account for factors such as the risk to the physical and psychological health of officers.

A similar payment, known as the X Factor, exists within the British military and the report calls for the increase in pay to be set at the same level – currently 14.5 per cent of base pay.

Other recommendations include:

  • The removal of the two lowest pay points for constables and the introduction of a minimum starting salary of £24,177;
  • The shortening of the Constables’ and Sergeants’ pay scales to lessen the time taken to reach the top level;
  • A 150 per cent increase in both London Weighting and the South East Allowance;
  • The introduction of new top pay scale points for all ranks, to incentivise retention; and
  • An increase in location and dog-handler’s allowance.

PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “For too many years police officers have been treated with contempt by government with their pay having effectively been cut by 18 per cent in real terms over the past decade.

“And while we are starting to see some positive moves from the new government, ministers now need to show they are serious about their commitment to policing, by paying police officers fairly for the uniquely challenging job they do.

“Some new recruits will be taking home just 15 pence an hour more than the basic living wage. This sticks in the throat when you hear government ministers say how much they support our police officers. Support needs to be more than kind words.

“Over the past year we have seen police officers undertaking extreme acts of bravery such as confronting terrorists to protect the public; and tragically we have also lost colleagues in the line of duty. All of which highlight the risks police officers face every day. It truly is a job like no other.”

Mr Apter continued: “The recent police funding settlement has provided a much-needed financial boost to the service.

“I accept there will always be competing demands for this money, but the Government and the chiefs must recognise that people are policing’s most valuable asset; and in order to help attract and retain the officers needed to achieve the 20,000-increase, pay is a critical factor.”

Other parties who are expected to make submissions to the PRRB include the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Home Office and the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association.

A series of oral evidence sessions will now take place with the PRRB then expected to make its final recommendation in July, with whatever pay award is agreed coming into effect on September 1, 2020.

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