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Pay rise set at 5% but Fed warns established officers will lose out

Uplift officers are getting a big pay rise - but at the expense of experienced officers.

In one of the Johnson government’s final acts, officers have been given a pay deal that will be outstripped by energy and fuel costs.

In a statement issued in the final countdown to Parliament’s summer recess, staff groups were given a settlement alongside other public sector workers which was above the Home Office’s initial offer of 2%.

But it falls well short of the increase officer leaders believed was needed – 9% had been discussed among staff side leaders.

The Fed said the deal was biased in favour of Uplift officers. 

It added the deal was “more disappointing for those longer in service and in supervisory ranks who are also struggling financially”.

The Home Office said it had accepted the recommendations of the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) in full – “reflecting the vital role police officers have on the frontline making our streets safer”.

Police and Crime Commissioners who will have to fund part of the increase said the Home Office had listened to their concerns about financing the deal.

APCC Chair, Marc Jones said: “In terms of affordability, we welcome the fact that the Home Office have reacted to our concerns about funding the settlement and have agreed to fund half of the additional increase. This goes beyond what was already anticipated from the spending review last autumn for the current year and represents closer to 60 per cent of funding in years two and three of the current spending review period."

In detail

The PRRB, now led by former HM Inspector Zoe Billingham, had highlighted concerns around the impact on junior ranks of the cost of living pressures.

The Home Office statement argued that private sector pay deals have stopped at 4% and median full-time salaries “are higher in the public sector, and public sector workers benefit from some of the most generous pensions available”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “It is right that we recognise the extraordinary work of our officers who day in, day out, work tirelessly to keep our streets, communities and country safe.”

The announcement was part of a deal to school teachers, health workers on the Agenda for Change contract (including nurses), doctors and dentists, the armed forces, prison officers, NHS senior managers, the judiciary, senior civil servants and senior military.

Federation Chair Steve Hartshorn said the government “still has a long way to go”.

He said: “It is disappointing that the pay increase is not good news for all officers, negatively affecting those in higher ranks. It’s in the government’s direct interest to ensure that all police officers are paid properly and can pay their bills.

“If they don’t, retaining the high-quality officers our country needs - and this government promised - will be doomed to fail.”

An early analysis by officers was that those on the old pension schemes were worst off.

And the Metropolitan Police leaders were less enthusiastic.

Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Met Federation, said: “This is nothing more than yet another derisory pay offer to hard working Police Officers.

“With inflation currently running at more than 9% - and our pay being behind inflation by more than 20% over the past decade – how can it be anything other than another kick in the teeth to our courageous colleagues?”

He added: “Why are we treated like this? Why do we have no choice but to accept such an offer? Because the government know we cannot take industrial action. And they are callously and calculatedly taking advantage of this. The Police officers I represent have had enough of being betrayed like this. What a sorry state of affairs.”

It is unlikely to be the end of row over pay – and the Fed said it would continue to lobby.

Last year’s pay freeze for NHS workers ended after a threat of industrial action.

Unions representing other public sector workers have already warned of strike action. And if they win it will add to calls from grassroots for reviewing the right to strike.

The Fire Brigades Union yesterday voted unanimously to reject the 2% pay offer.

“Firefighters have never taken industrial action lightly but nor can we allow this pay insult to pass without challenge. The employers' proposal would mean a further cut to our real wages and further hardship for our members and their families. That is unacceptable in the face of the cost of living crisis,” it said. 

The officer deal triggers a clause in the pay deal for staff that means Unison will be asking for parity.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council backed the increase and pointed out that force budgets are under pressure.

NPCC Chair, Martin Hewitt, said: “This pay award will help police officers to keep pace with cost of living increases, particularly those who have recently joined policing. The pay award was recommended by an independent body and will assist in recruiting and retaining police officers.

“Both the Home Office and individual forces face financial challenges in accommodating the cost of this pay award. As such, we welcome the additional funding from government and the commitment to additional funds for the next two years until the next spending review.”

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