Federation says Government must be reminded of fair pay promise

Fresh calls for fair pay for police officers are being backed by Dyfed Powys Police Federation.

They come amid claims the Government has gone back on a deal signed more than a century ago.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) says the 1919 Police Act set out to ensure fair pay for police officers as long as they gave up their rights to strike.

But national Federation chair Steve Hartshorn has accused the Government of failing to stick to its side of the bargain.

He says: “During our annual conference in May, I asked the Home Secretary – why are my colleagues one of the only groups of frontline public sector workers being punished?

“Today, I want to ask the Government – did our forebears make a mistake in trusting you by giving up our right to strike in 1919 against the promise of fair pay?

“The Government must be reminded of this promise time and time again.” 

Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb has also spoken out.

“We have officers who are experiencing real financial difficulties. Last year’s pay freeze, on the back of below inflation rises in preceding years, coupled with the cost of living crisis have started to have a real impact.

“Police officers hold a unique place in society, running towards danger as others run away and yet they are not adequately rewarded for the very real risks and responsibilities involved.”

Morale among police officers has fallen to an all-time low and  while they have endured a two-year pay freeze, other public sector workers who are allowed to take industrial action have been given pay rises which acknowledge the work they undertook throughout the pandemic. 

The discrepancy has not gone unnoticed by members of the public and a national poll of 2,000 people, conducted in May across eight locations in England and Wales, found 75 per cent thought the police deserved a pay rise in line with inflation. 

The poll also found that 74 per cent agreed that police officers deserved a pay rise that adequately compensated them for the risk associated with their work, 79 per cent agreed that dangerous jobs such as police work deserved the pay to reflect that risk and 72 per cent supported the Government giving a pay rise to the police at the next opportunity. 

The national Federation chair said: “Workers in other public sectors are taking industrial action over pay and conditions this summer whilst PFEW members ‘police’ the strikes.

“Our members cannot strike and seem to have no redress to this loss as the law currently prohibits such action by police officers. 

“All police officers want is fair pay. A reward that recognises their important place in society, for the dangers they face as they go about their duties fighting and preventing crime, enforcing law and order and protecting the vulnerable, while not having access to employment rights similar to other workers for safeguarding their pay and conditions.”

Steve insisted the responsibility of any Government was the safety and security of its citizens and warned it would struggle to fulfil its obligations when the police faced such huge challenges as a result of broken promises.

He added: “We now have a new Commissioner of Police in the Metropolitan Police Service, a new Policing Minister, a new Chancellor and an experienced Home Secretary, all of whom know how important policing is to everyday life.

“It is time the Government values that importance and realises that people will not forgive broken promises.”