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Anger Mounts As PNB Fails To Agree On Winsor

Hopes for compromise vanquished as pay and conditions proposals head for arbitration

Senior officials on the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) have accused the government of treating the service with “contempt” after being hit with more uncertainty in the wake of a final meeting discussing the Winsor II recommendations.

A failure to agree between the Staff Side and Official Side of the police pay negotiating machinery has been registered – which means that the issue must be put before the Police Arbitration Tribunal.

Officials on the staff side have said that the move will “do nothing to reduce the calls from some officers for industrial rights” or lift morale throughout the service.

The tribunal will consider the representations put forward by both sides and come to a conclusion – although the Home Secretary retains the power disregard the findings. It has not been confirmed when a decision is due although this is likely to be in the autumn.

As previously reported on PoliceOracle.com the recommendations in the Winsor II document – including proposals allowing officers of all ranks to be effectively made redundant as well as compulsory fitness tests – were initially accepted by the Home Secretary and were placed before the PNB in April.

Presided over by an independent chairman, the negotiating body reflects the makeup of the Police Service, including its operational leaders and those involved in governance.

The Staff Side is made up of the Police Federation and Superintendents’ Association along with the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association. The Home Office and ACPO form the Official Side along with the Association of Police Authorities.

In accusing the Official Side of taking “a disappointing, ideologically-based decision” in rejecting an alternative package of proposed measures, a statement from Staff Side Chair Paul McKeever and Vice-Chair Graham Cassidy said officers will be left “questioning their futures ahead of the Olympic Games”.

The Staff Side statement asserted: “Driving down the constables’ pay and conditions will see future good quality candidates look towards other professions that reward appropriately and fairly for what they do – and other proposed changes will see those in the service looking for alternative careers.”

While the Police Federation has declined to release details of the Staff Side’s alternative proposals until the police negotiating machinery process has concluded, senior officials have said that further uncertainty is destined to hit the morale of rank-and-file officers.

Alan Jones, Chairman of the Federation’s Inspectors’ Central Committee, told PoliceOracle.com: “What has been happening at the PNB is just one part of a much wider picture.

“Officers are faced with the prospect of managing high public expectations – and this is not just about the police, it is about all the other support services too.”

Mr Jones pointed out that the recent failure of G4S to deliver 3,400 security staff out of a promised 10,000 personnel had seen officers step into the breach.

Cuts in budgets and changes to terms and conditions represented a real issue, he said, adding: “There is only so much you can do without impacting on operational activity.”

John Apter, Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said he was disappointed at the outcome of the negotiations. He added: “There is a huge sense of frustration.

“There had been a real hope that a compromise could be reached on both sides and now uncertainty continues. I honestly do not think that those in the corridors of power understand how devalued officers are feeling at the moment.

“They had hoped for a meeting in the middle – clearly that has not happened.”

An ACPO spokeswoman declined to comment on the developments at the PNB.

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