Police officers deserve to be recognised for putting aside fears for their own health to continue to serve and protect their communities, says Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones.
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has called for officers to be awarded a ‘thank you’ payment for the risks they have taken to protect the public during the Covid-19 pandemic, a move Gareth has welcomed.
The request is part of this year’s annual PFEW and Superintendents’ Association submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB). A three per cent pay rise for officers is also being sought.
Gareth said: “From the outset of this pandemic, police officers have been on the frontline maintaining effective police services but also adapting to the seemingly ever-changing restrictions and Government guidance.
“While doing that, they have faced the risk of the virus themselves, while fearing that they may also pass it on to their families. Policing is not a job where you can always maintain social distancing and there have been risks to officers’ health.
“Added to that, they have also found themselves the victims of assaults by people who have sought to weaponise the virus by spitting or coughing over officers and claiming to have Covid.
“I think a thank you payment would show officers that the Government recognised their efforts during this national crisis.”
The Federation’s national secretary, Alex Duncan, said he was aware that requesting an increase in officer pay after the public sector pay freeze announcement last year may seem futile.
But, he explained: “Police officers have been at the forefront of this pandemic and continue to put themselves and their families at risk, working long hours every day to keep the public safe during these unprecedented times.”
The Federation questions the Government’s pay freeze decision when the Spending Review awarded forces sufficient budgets for officers to be recognised for their work during the pandemic.
Alex said: “The Home Secretary states in the remit letter that the Government only took that decision in extraordinary circumstances but this is the fifth out of seven PRRB rounds that vital evidence has been completely disregarded,
“Vital work goes into informing submissions made to the PRRB and it is disheartening to see this being ignored time and time again. You cannot blame us for questioning whether this process is effective.”
The Federation is seeking the three per cent pay rise for all officers and a ‘thank you’ payment on the basis that an uplift is feasible and that the private sector has rewarded key workers with a similar payment.
Gareth added: “The last 10 months have been incredibly tough for us all but particularly for our officers. They have continued to fight crime while working to keep communities safe and being attacked themselves. An acknowledgment of that is the least they deserve.”