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Government offers 2.5% pay rise

The government has offered a 2.5% pay rise to police officers in England and Wales – exactly half what the leaders of frontline officers had asked for. But the Fed has called it "a step in the right direction".

The Treasury announced on Monday night that police officers in England and Wales will receive a 2.5% pay rise, to take effect from 1 September 2020.

The Police Federation said with the country in the grip of a massive economic downturn, the deal was the best they could hope for.

Chief Constables said the deal would help retain sergeants and improve recruitment to the rank.

The Fed briefed that as well as the pay rise, which is applicable across all ranks, the government announced that the London Weighting and the Dog Handlers’ Allowance is to increase by 2.5%.

The lowest point on the sergeants’ pay scale has also been removed. The maximum rate of London Allowance is to increase by £1,000 to £5,338 a year for officers appointed on or after 1 September 1994 and not receiving Replacement Allowance.

The pay rise – which will come into effect on 1 September 2020 – equates to around an extra £1,100 of pensionable salary a year for a constable.

The offer is part of a wider public sector pay deal for nearly 900,000 workers across the country, with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rise at 3.1% and 2.8% respectively recognising their efforts on the frontline during the battle against COVID-19.

Prison officers will also have a 2.5% rise in pay and the Armed Forces will receive a 2% uplift. Whitehall departments are able to make average pay awards within the range of 1.5% to 2.5%.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will publish the details in a statement to Parliament containing the recommendations of the Police Renumeration and Review Body (PRRB). The announcement had been expected later this week and caught the sector by surprise.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “These past months have underlined what we always knew – that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and that we can rely on them when we need them.

“It’s right therefore that we follow the recommendations of the independent pay bodies with this set of real-terms pay rises.”

But the offer is less than the 5% requested by the Police Federation and Police Superintendents’ Association in their pay claim submission. The two groups had warned a major increase was needed to keep experienced officers on to deliver the training to the 20,000 new recruits.

They had argued that the government needed to bring pay back to the pre-austerity era to secure the long-term future of policing. Without it, there would be a "catastrophic failure" in policing.

But Police Federation Chairman John Apter said that at least the deal put forward by the PRRB will not have to go to a legal challenge to be accepted by the government: “In the current financial climate with so much uncertainty, the fact the government has fully accepted the recommendations of the PRRB will come as a relief.

“The 2.5% increase in pay across all ranks is a step in the right direction and, whilst it is less than we asked for will be broadly welcomed against a backdrop of financial pressures on the economy. Do my colleagues deserve more? Absolutely, and the Government must go further to pay officers fairly for the unique and dangerous job they do.

He added: “With the economic vulnerability we face as a country, many colleagues will be relieved to receive a 2.5% pay increase - anything lower would have been completely unacceptable.”  

Chief Constables were relieved that the issue had been settled quickly by ministers.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for pay and conditions, Chief Constable Matt Jukes, said:  “Given our difficult financial times, it is very welcome news the government has accepted the Pay Remuneration Review Body’s recommendation for an increase in police pay above the rate of inflation.

“Chief Constables welcome the endorsement of our proposals on targeted variable pay and sergeants’ pay. Taken together this will contribute to ensuring specific roles in the service are filled and to supporting the ongoing recruitment of officers.”

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