Most officers will be worse off under this year’s £1,900 pay award than they were last year with a zero per cent pay increase, the Federation’s national chair has admitted.
Steve Hartshorn has reflected on the pay increase, which amounts to an average uplift of five per cent, and says he shares the feelings of officers who feel undervalued, disheartened and let down.
“The award of a flat increase of £1,900 across all ranks is simply insufficient to cover the prevailing cost of living crisis – triggered by the 40-year high rate of inflation, which continues to rise – and the amount ultimately fails to address the real-terms pay cut that police officers have been facing for over a decade,” he explained.
“Most officers will receive far below five per cent, leaving them worse off financially than they were last year with a zero per cent increase due to the current crisis. Even for those officers who will receive the top end of the pay award, it will still not be enough to cover the increases in household bills, fuel and groceries.”
Steve asked: “How can we expect our police officers to be able to do their jobs effectively if they are unable to afford to look after their own basic needs?”
Welcoming the increase for new joiners on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route, he countered that other officers, from PC to chief inspector, had received a settlement far short of what they needed.
“Across England and Wales, the feeling is that this award is divisive and devalues those officers longer in service. The divide promotes a lack of incentive for promotion and, while it is right that new recruits should be paid more than they currently are, this should not be to the detriment of other officers which is what the award has achieved,” the chair explained.
“Many outside policing will say that in comparison to other pay awards, this is a good number and that we should be content, but that doesn’t take into account the huge real terms pay cuts officers have faced. Neither does it take into account that officers cannot strike.”
The Federation campaign demanding fair pay for all police officers of England and Wales, the chair pledged, will continue until it achieves nothing less than:
- A complete redress of the real-terms pay cut suffered by police officers since 2010
- An alignment of police officers’ pay with cost of living increases, and
- A fair pay system that takes account the x/p-factor for police officers, the restrictions on their lives and the danger and unique challenges they face as part of the job.
The national chair concluded: “Ultimately, we want all officers to be treated fairly, to receive a proportionate pay increase and this will be our aim moving forward. We will not stop until police officers receive what they are due. Policing in our country is in huge crisis and the Government must step up.”