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Federation demands minimum 17% pay increase based on SMF research

The figure is based on research that shows pay for officers in the UK has declined by 17% in real terms.

The Police Federation has called for a minimum 17% pay increase for officers across England and Wales.

It comes as the Police Remuneration Review Body are currently accepting evidence from staff associations on the 2023/24 award.

Met Commisioner Mark Rowley has called for a rise which matches inflation (around 10%) while the NPCC hasn't given a specific percentage but has said they want one that recognises its impact of inflation across all ranks. 

The Home Office, for its part, believes the existing settlement allows forces to budget for an increase of up to 3.5% - more than the 2% initially allocated in the annual spending review.

Today, however, the Fed has upped the stakes and asked for 17% -  a figure based on a recent study which found that in real terms police pay has dropped by that amount since 2000. The figure has also been cited by other bodies in their submissions. 

However, their demands will not be conveyed via a submission to the PRRB as with other associations, as they have previously withdrawn from the process over concerns on lack of fairness and independence of the pay review process.

PFEW also today underlined they would not support a return to the PRRB process as it stands.

Among reasons given was the pay review mechanism which “is ultimately controlled by the Home Office”.

“We feel it is inappropriate that the Home Secretary sets the scope of the annual pay review through the remit letter, and also retains ultimate authority in whether to accept any of the PRRB’s recommendations with no recourse," they said. 

“Further, the Home Secretary’s decision to accept the recommendations is based on instruction from the Treasury and as such, the process is again influenced by other external decision makers, questioning the independence of the Home Secretary to make the right decisions and the fairness of those decisions.”

In a letter to Zoe Billingham, Chair of the PRRB, Steve Hartshorn and National Secretary Calum Macleod explained that there has been no engagement from Government on how the process could be improved or made independent following the body’s withdrawal from the process. 

They clarified that they remain open to any discussion on how to facilitate a “truly independent pay review process which allows the PRRB mechanism to function as it should.”

The Social Market Foundation report shows police pay has lagged almost 20% behind inflation since 2000, according to the federation.

It also shows police constable starting salaries have lagged behind earnings as a whole across the economy.

The research shows MPs salaries saw a 4% rise in total over the same period.

The Federation has added that an inability to take industrial action puts the profession at a “distinct disadvantage” compared with all other emergency workers. While the unique obligations police have, and their risk of exposure to physical and psychological harm, should be reflected in their remuneration.

Chair of the federation Steve Hartshorn labelled the research a “wake-up call for policymakers in the UK,” adding: “For a long time now, the Police Federation of England and Wales has been working to achieve better pay and working conditions for our members.

“Police officers put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect their communities.

“That is why today our National Council has taken the decision to call for a minimum of 17% increase in pay for our officers.

“The Government can no longer sit by and ignore our members’ basic needs and must recognise the impact of this independent research.

“In the context of ongoing inflation, indications of a police retention crisis, and reports of officers being forced to turn to food banks, the issue of police pay must be addressed now after more than a decade of being ignored.

“Police officers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that begins with better pay – pay that not only reflects the cost-of-living crisis that many of us face but puts right the 17% decline since 2000 and compensates officers for the dangers they’re exposed to as part of the job.

“They must be compensated fairly for doing a job that is so important and unique that they do not have access to industrial rights.”

Previously Police Scotland and the NCA both took action in the form of removing goodwill over arguments on pay. When asked whether it might be a tactic PFEW would consider, Police Oracle was told “these decisions will be made at the appropriate times”.

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