Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones says the Government’s treatment of police officers was “an absolute disgrace” after new figures laid bare the cuts to pay.
Research released today by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) revealed that pay for UK police officers declined by 17 per cent in real terms between 2000 and 2022.
Now Gareth has joined policing voices across the country in demanding a substantial rise to compensate for the decline in officers’ pay since the turn of the century.
He said: “We knew that police officers had suffered a real terms pay cut but the figures released today are shocking – an absolute disgrace.
“They put their lives on the line every day, they stepped into the unknown when they policed the pandemic, and they do everything they can to serve and protect.
“The least they deserve is a wage that reflects the unique role and pressures they face.
“They shouldn’t be going cap in hand to food banks to put meals on the table for their families, as many are now having to do.
“I’m sure the public will be as angry as I am by their treatment. Something has to change.
“That’s why we’re calling for a minimum of 17 per cent increase for officers which will only take them to the levels of pay in real terms they had at the start of the century.
“It’s time for the Government to treat police officers with respect.”
Gareth’s comments came as figures from Social Market Foundation (SMF), a non-partisan think tank, revealed that pay for UK police officers declined by 17 per cent in real terms between 2000 and 2022.
According to the report, policing is an outlier among emergency services workers; public sector workers, and indeed all workers.
It said that all these groups saw their pay rise in real terms over this period – by a total of one per cent, fourteen per cent, and five per cent respectively. The research showed MPs salaries’ saw a four per cent rise in total over the period.
The SMF report said officers’ decline in pay was likely to be linked to the restrictions on police officers’ right to strike compared to all other workers, including other emergency service personnel.
It also found that police constable starting salaries have lagged behind earnings as a whole across the economy by a considerable amount.
SMF has calculated that if these real-terms trends continued over the next five years, police pay would see a further real-terms decline of four per cent by 2027 compared to private and public sector worker pay, which is expected to rise over the same period.
A key factor in police pay discussions is the P-factor which SMF has suggested should be offered in addition to its findings.
The P-factor is an element of police pay that reflects the unique responsibilities police officers experience relative to other comparable roles.
This includes their risk of exposure to physical and psychological harm, alongside the restrictions that are placed upon their private lives.
The P-factor payment does not feature in SMF’s report, highlighting that the actual figure of degradation of police pay is even greater.
National Federation chair Steve Hartshorn labelled the research a “wake-up call for policy-makers”.
He said: “Police officers put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect their communities.
“That’s why today our National Council has taken the decision to call for a minimum 17 per cent increase in pay for our officers.
“The Government can no longer sit by and ignore our members’ basic needs and must recognise the impact of this independent research.
“In the context of ongoing inflation, indications of a police retention crisis, and reports of officers being forced to turn to food banks, the issue of police pay must be addressed now after more than a decade of being ignored.
“Police officers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that begins with better pay.
“Pay that not only reflects the cost-of-living crisis that many of us face but puts right the 17 per cent decline since 2000 and compensates officers for the dangers they’re exposed to as part of the job.
“They must be compensated fairly for doing a job that’s so important and unique that they do not have access to industrial rights.”