Freezing the pay of millions of public sector workers – including police officers - would be an unfair way of repaying them for their hard work in the effort to combat Covid-19, the Chairman of Staffordshire Police Federation has said.

It has been widely reported today that the Government is considering announcing a public sector pay freeze in next week’s Spending Review to cover the UK’s deficit in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

Phil Jones, Chairman of Staffordshire Police Federation, said: “The headlines are disappointing and no surprise given the financial implications on our economy due to Covid-19. Police Officers, like other blue light services, have continued to keep people safe during the pandemic whilst being exposed to the continual risk of catching this deadly disease.

“We have seen nationally a huge increase in the number of Covid related assaults, getting assaulted whilst doing your job is never acceptable. The physical and physiological impact on my colleagues and their family are huge.

“Police officers deserve to be remunerated fairly and let’s not forget, we have seen a real term reduction in pay of over 18% over the years. Police officers have played their part during austerity to help the economy and should not have to pay the price again.

“Policing is exceptionally challenging with demands ever increasing. Pay rise or not, my colleagues will continue to do their best to keep the public safe.”

During the last recession, from 2011, public sector workers were subjected to a pay freeze and then a pay cap for a number of years.

This resulted in an 18% real-terms pay cut for hard working police officers.

Police Federation of England and Wales National Chairman John Apter said today: “During the pandemic, the Government has thanked and celebrated members of the public sector; to freeze their pay and penalise these same workers would be morally bankrupt, unforgivable and a betrayal.”

“Yes we’re in tough times, but this would be extremely damaging for those very key workers the Government has applauded over the past several months.

“After [nearly] a decade of public sector pay freezes/caps, this would be an unforgivable decision if it were to happen, the Government must stop and think before doing this.”

When questioned, the Treasury declined to comment on the reports but pointed to language used by Rishi Sunak in a letter about the Spending Review in July.

The letter outlined that in the "interest of fairness we must exercise restraint in future public sector pay awards, ensuring that across this year and the spending review period, public sector pay levels retain parity with the private sector".

It has been reported that nurses and doctors will be exempt from the future pay freeze.

In 2020, police officers received a 2.5% pay rise.