Nottinghamshire Police Federation chair Simon Riley says it’s “almost surreal” that members are policing picket lines having been denied a real term pay rise of their own for the past 11 years.

As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, Simon highlighted the fact officers are unable to take industrial action of their own, despite facing a 20 per cent real terms cut to their salary, while being expected to police strikes in other areas of the economy.

Simon said: “I find it almost surreal that we’ve seen police officers’ pay decimated over the last 11 years or so. The law means we can’t strike to improve conditions but we be called upon to police picket lines in other sectors.

“I’m not criticising those other sectors. Industrial action is their legal right but it’s a right not afforded our members, who have to rely on the Government’s goodwill for a pay increase.

“It’s goodwill that’s in short supply at a time when our members have endured a 20 per cent real terms cut since 2010 when set against inflation, and many are struggling to make ends meet.

“Our members were on the frontline protecting the public during the pandemic and continued to carry out business as usual. And now, their unique role means they’ll be expected to police picket lines before returning home to their own cost of living crises.

“That can’t be right. It’s past time that our officers received the fair pay they’re entitled to.”

Simon’s comments were echoed by Steve Hartshorn, chair of the national Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

Steve said that some Federation branches are handing out food vouchers to help officers cope with the rising cost of living.

“The police officers of our country are not asking the Government for a favour,” he said, “They are asking for their rightful entitlement – fair pay!”

Read more of Steve’s comments.

Tiff Lynch, the deputy chair of the national Police Federation, said that while the country is “coming to terms with the cost of living crisis … officers have been grappling with the cost of living for many years”.

She said: “All we want is fair pay. Pay that reflects the unique role we play in society, the risks we face and, let us not forget, police officers all too often pay the ultimate price when serving their communities.

“We also need a truly independent pay mechanism and longer-term funding settlements that will allow police leaders to effectively plan policing services.”

Read more of Tiff’s comments.