Government agrees police pay award

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The Home Secretary has accepted the recommendation from the police pay body to increase police officer pay by £1,900 with effect from 1 September 2022.

The Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) published its eighth report to the Home Secretary where it made a formal recommendation on the police officer pay award for 2022/23 to all ranks including chief constable. This applies to England and Wales only.

In its 141-page report, the PRRB sets out the evidence it has gathered from speaking to almost 400 officers. “We were told about reports of lower paid officers in debt and of many struggling to meet basic fuel and food costs. The financial pressures they face have increased since then and energy prices are now at unprecedented levels.”

The PRRB is led by former HMI, Zoe Billingham. The report authors concluded, “Given affordability considerations, our analysis of recruitment, retention, motivation and morale, and developments in private sector pay, we concluded that a pay uplift with an overall cost of 5 per cent was appropriate. We recommend that this should take the form of a consolidated increase of £1,900 for all officers which has the effect of giving the lowest paid police officers an uplift close to the rising cost of living.”

The Home Secretary wrote in her letter to Ms Billingham about the PRRB’s report, “I offer my thanks to the Review Body for its imaginative approach in reaching its recommendation for this award, which ensures pay is targeted where it is most needed.”

Welcome additional funding

Responding to the announcement of the pay award, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said, “This pay award will help police officers to keep pace with cost of living increases, particularly those who have recently joined policing. The pay award was recommended by an independent body and will assist in recruiting and retaining police officers. Both the Home Office and individual forces face financial challenges in accommodating the cost of this pay award. As such, we welcome the additional funding from government and the commitment to additional funds for the next two years until the next spending review.”

Small step forward

Steve Hartshorn in the National Chair of the Police Federation for England and Wales (PFEW). He said, “After our persistent appeals, the Government are finally starting to listen to the huge concerns we have over low police pay. Officers have already faced two years of a blanket pay freeze, a 20 per cent real terms pay cut since 2010, and now huge additional cost-of-living pressures. The average 5 per cent settlement announced today is still below inflation, and PFEW believes the Government ‘still has a long way to go’ to demonstrate they’re treating officers with the dignity and respect they deserve; this is only a small first step forward in regaining their trust.”

Critical of the evidence

The Police Superintendent’s Association and Chief Police Officers Staff Association issued a joint statement. “Yet again, this pay award fails to fairly reward or recognise those tasked with serving and protecting our communities.” The statement criticised the evidence gathering process, noting the absence of input from both the Police Federation and the Police Superintendent’s Association who withdrew from the review process in 2021, “Following continued concerns over the lack of fairness and independence of the pay review process.”