The average five per cent pay increase for officers would usually be seen as a success but is just not enough when set against the real-terms pay cuts of the last 10 years and the current financial crisis, according to the national chair of the Police Federation.

Steve Hartshorn was reflecting on the £1,900 pay award announced last week and acknowledged the mixed reaction across the membership.

He explained: “We share the anger and frustration of those officers who feel undervalued, disheartened and let down by the award and by the Government.

“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 added: “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.”

And he 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?”

The national chair welcomed the increased starting pay for new joiners on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship but said the settlement fell short of what more experienced officer needed.

“Higher rank, experienced officers who are also dealing with the soaring inflation figures, have seen an increase wildly out of touch with the cost of living crisis which feels like another insult from the Government,” he explained.

“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.”

Steve added: “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.”

Read the national chair’s full statement on pay.