Public sector pay cap: government’s ‘shameful act’ on police pay

John Apter, Hampshire Police Federation chairman
John Apter, Hampshire Police Federation chairman
  • Police representative says announcement not in line with pay board ‘unforgivable’
  • Hampshire chief constable says now Home Office must give ‘extra funding’
  • Crime commissioner warns of extra ‘pressure’ on force budget
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AN INCREASE in pay for police will put ‘pressure’ on existing budgets, the crime commissioner has said.

It comes as it has been announced police are set to get a one per cent pay rise, plus a one per cent bonus.

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane

Cash will come from existing budgets, it has been confirmed by government.

Michael Lane, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, said: ‘My colleagues at the constabulary are living through a challenging time, as we all are.’

But asked, before the announcement, if the force would be able to afford it, Mr Lane said: ‘We won’t have the option of not being able to afford it.

‘If they are raised because it’s appropriate to raise them without a recognition of what that does to our overall funding that will create a tension and a pressure.’

Prison officers will get a 1.7 per cent rise.

John Apter, Hampshire Police Federation chairman, represents rank-and-file police officers.

He said the announcement amounted to an increase within the cap, and the one per cent bonus was just a one-off.

And he said the government had said it would follow the recommendation of the independent pay review board – but has not.

Mr Apter said: ‘This comes off the back of almost eight years of pay freeze and an imposed pay cap.

‘Police officers have seen in real terms a 15 per cent pay cut.

‘This is an insult and the government is playing politics with police officers’ pay.

‘They could have fully agreed with the independent pay review board’s recommendation – they have not done that, they’ve reneged on their agreement and this is unforgivable.

‘On behalf of the rank and file I do not welcome this, the government have taken full advantage of police officers status where they hold no employment rights and that’s a shameful act in the current climate.’

He also warned without extra cash, any increase in pay would ‘increase pressure’ on police forces.

‘If the government are committed as they say in all their rhetoric then the need to do it with more than words.’

Hampshire police’s chief constable Olivia Pinkney has welcome the announcement, but said extra funding should now come.

Mrs Pinkney said: ‘I support the pay cap being lifted, as the real pay of officers has been significantly reduced in recent years.

‘I have been consistent in my message that lifting the pay cap must be supported with the extra funding local forces need to pay for it.’

In a statement, home secretary Amber Rudd said the pay announcement ‘strikes a fair balance’.

‘We want to reward and attract the very best police officers within the resources we have, whilst making the right decisions for the economy overall,’ she said.