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Home Office under renewed pressure to resolve pay row

A Police and Crime Commissioner has gone public with a call for ‘proper’ pay rises for officers.

The Home Office has been urged by a Conservative PCC to look again at pay for officers.

Kent PCC Matthew Scott made a direct response to a warning from his force’s own officers that 10% of their ranks intend to quit over the next two years.

Mr Scott was also among those to criticise a move by Metropolitan Police to poach transferees from surrounding forces with a one off £5k cash payment in order to make up its own quota – which he claimed was breaking a ‘gentleman’s agreement’.

He used the row with the Met to highlight the problems of pay which started two years ago with a pay freeze and have now been made worse by the huge increase in living costs.

The Home Office, which is set to face a legal challenge in the High Court over the pay review board’s independence, has currently offered 2% - well short of inflation.

Its statement in February it said: “We look to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) to make a strong case on affordability if they believe funding for a higher award is available.” 

Mr Scott said the Met’s move – backed by golden hello bonuses – meant he needed the Home Office to rethink.

“I’ve always supported proper pay rises for our police officers and staff, who do so much to help keep us safe. This issue has come alive again with the offer being made by the Met Police, which I know in the current climate could be appealing,” he said.

“I’m looking again at what more can be done to offer more support in the current economic and financial climate. And the answer to the questions asked most often - why aren’t you increasing pay and allowances is that I would if I had the power.”

He warned the Uplift target – a key pledge for the Prime Minister – would be at risk without it.

Mr Matthews said: “I’ve lobbied the Home Secretary for extra help to fund a better offer. It’s vital we value our officers and staff. That we pay them appropriately. And it’s the best way to secure the recruitment and retention of the 20,000 extra Officers.”

The intervention by Mr Matthews comes as the Police Federation’s new board is deciding its next steps in the pay battle.

The issue was top of the agenda at their meeting this week.

The new Deputy Chair Tiff Lynch said the Fed will be going back to Westminster to press their case: “Pay is the biggest issue for us and it was in the manifesto of our new Chair Steve Hartshorn.”

The new 24-strong team is exploring how they can show the direct impact of the cost living crisis on officers, following the intervention of an officer at the Fed’s national conference who challenged the Home Secretary as to whether she could live on the wages being paid to officers.

Ms Lynch said: “We want to build on what came from conference – showing the personal reality of police officers in the current climate with the cost of living crisis, working hours and the additional responsibilities that officers are facing in the working day.

She added: "There has to be engagement with MPs; without that dialogue with MPs and government, we’ll face an even tougher task.

“It’s not about sitting in their pockets, it’s about informing them about who we are and what we do as the PFEW. We will be raising awareness of how we are also care workers, social workers, counsellors and effectively paramedics," she told Police Oracle.

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