Fed withdraws support for pay review body

The Police Federation has withdrawn its support for the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) after the Government announced it was pressing ahead with a controversial pay freeze for officers.

Federation officials also backed a vote of no confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel who confirmed the bitterly-opposed pay freeze just weeks after praising officers and telling them: “I’ve got your backs”.

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones said the pay freeze had left members feeling angry, betrayed and taken for granted by the Government.

He said: “Priti Patel was full of praise for the police last month and insisted that protecting them was her number one priority. Officers really stepped up to the plate throughout the pandemic and showed tremendous dedication and professionalism under unbelievably challenging circumstances. They fully deserved the recognition they received from the Home Secretary and other senior Government figures.

“Those same officers are now being told they won’t be getting a pay rise this year so it is no surprise they feel they are being treated with utter contempt.

“They deserve much, much better and have been very badly let down by the Government and the pay review process.”

National Federation chair John Apter said after an extraordinary meeting of the organisation’s National Council: “The PRRB is not truly independent, the body which is the only mechanism we have to consider any pay award for police officers, has its hands constantly tied by the Government who continually interfere. The PRRB itself recognises its lack of independence. 

“We can no longer accept this and have no confidence in this system which is why we are walking away.

“We often hear the Home Secretary praise police officers but our members are so angry with this Government. They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing.

“At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination. They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw. 

“As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current Home Secretary. I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”

In a statement issued after today’s meeting, the Police Federation said: “For too long PFEW has also been forced to enter into an unfair pay process with the odds weighted firmly in the favour of the Government.

“The PRRB’s lack of independence is something the body recognises itself and even highlights in its report.

“With inflation set to increase to almost four per cent later this year, this is yet another real-terms pay cut for police officers in England and Wales and a huge slap in the face for our members who have been attacked and vilified while holding the frontline during this pandemic.

“PFEW has tried its level best to be entirely co-operative in all dealings with the Government. But this Government and this Home Secretary, for all their talk of how much they value what we do, have made this impossible. They cannot be trusted or taken at face value in the way we would expect.

“As the undisputed voice of policing we say this to the Home Secretary: you cannot pat our members on the back for their heroic efforts with one hand, while effectively taking their pay with the other. Warm words are no longer enough.”