More chief constables should speak out on pay, says Fed chair

More chief constables should voice their support for Police Federation calls for a fair pair increase for members, according to Dyfed Powys branch chair Gareth Jones.

Gareth’s comments came after Essex Police Chief BJ Harrington warned his officers would struggle to carry on for much longer unless the pay issue was addressed.

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones.

Mr Harrington said more than 300 officers had sought permission to take second jobs to make ends meet while many more were quitting the service for better paid employment elsewhere.

He said some officers were using a food bank set up by colleagues at a police station in the county.

And he said two decades of real-terms pay cuts for officers could no longer be ignored.

“You can’t Taser the gas bill and you can't handcuff the family food shop at Lidl. And you can't arrest rising mortgage bills,” he said.

Mr Harrington told new recruits: “Seeing 84 new officers take their oath to protect communities across Essex is an incredibly proud moment but there is no doubt it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain the best new talent.

“Police pay has fallen behind that of other sectors by 17 per cent since the year 2000 and this is too big a gap to simply ignore.

“I need the officers and staff across Essex to focus on helping people, keeping people safe and catching criminals, not on whether they can afford to stay in the job. You need to be able to afford to do your job.”

Mr Harrington’s comments follow similar interventions from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

And Gareth believes more senior officers should speak out in favour of their officers.

“Chief constables are fully aware of the financial issues faced by the rank and file and should add their voices to our campaign for fair pay,” he said.

“The Chief Constable of Essex has made it clear that he believes we have reached the point where some officers can no longer make ends meet after years of real-terms pay cuts and rising living costs.

“He said he was finding it difficult to hold on to talented and dedicated officers who were being forced to look for new, better paid jobs outside the police service and unfortunately that is the case the length and breadth of the country.

“And I think the more senior officers that make their views on pay known, the better.”

The Police Federation is calling for a 17 per cent pay increase for its members after an independent study showed a landslide decline in police pay since 2000.

The research by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) revealed real terms police pay has fallen almost 20 per cent behind inflation between 2000 and 2022.