Fed chair’s disgust at pay freeze

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones says it is disgusting that police officers have been denied a pay rise despite their dedication to duty during the pandemic.

And Gareth says the fact the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) was told by the Government that it could not even consider recommending a pay rise makes a mockery of what is supposed to be an independent process.

“Police officers are becoming increasingly angry and frustrated that politicians say they appreciate their efforts to serve and protect the public over the last 16 months and yet the challenges they have faced do not warrant even a slight increase in their pay,” says Gareth.

“Time and time again I have heard the Home Secretary say that she has got our backs but I am sure many officers are questioning what that actually means today. The Government cannot set up an independent review body to consider our pay and then tell it what it can consider. Nothing should be off the table before they start their review process. The Police Federation makes a joint submission to PRRB with the Superintendents’ Association each year and does so in good faith and in the belief that their evidence will be considered but I am not sure it is.

“Throughout the pandemic, police officers have been on the frontline, providing their usual response to the public but also adapting to the changing regulations and restrictions imposed by the Government, often with very little notice. While they have been doing that, they have been assaulted and spat and coughed over by people claiming to have Covid-19.

“It is disgusting that they have been denied a pay rise despite their dedication to duty. They feel totally undervalued.”

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation, has also criticised wage freeze and the pay review process.

He said yesterday: “Police officers have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see firefighters and local government workers in England given a 1.5 per cent increase while they receive nothing. This is further evidence that not all public services are treated equally by this Government, and some are valued more than others.

“The current pay system for policing is not fit for purpose. We are forced to enter into an inherently unfair process from the start, with the odds weighted firmly in favour of the Government where, it seems, a decision has already been made when they set the parameters for the pay review body.

“It is now essential that we review this process and look to find an alternative; a solution that has the best interests of police officer pay at heart. We will be seeking the views of our members and calling an urgent meeting with our 43 Federation branches from across England and Wales to discuss our next steps.”

The review body was allowed to consider a pay uplift for those earning less than £24,000 a year and, as such, has recommended the minimum rates for Police Constable Degree Apprentice starting pay and Pay Point 0 of the constable scale are increased by £250 and all officers earning less than £24,000 (on a full-time equivalent basis) should receive a consolidated pay award of £250.

The PRRB report acknowledged police officers’ unique role during the pandemic.

It stated: “The work of police officers is important, difficult, complex and sometimes dangerous in the ordinary course of events. As one of the groups working on the frontline during the pandemic, Covid-19 meant that the police had to adapt and respond to a new situation and enforce new and evolving regulations. This added further pressures and personal risk to their challenging role. Consequently, we would like to acknowledge our remit group for their particular contribution this year.”