The Police Federation’s new national chair and deputy chair have sounded a warning about officer pay amid inflation and the rising cost of living.
Steve Hartshorn and Tiff Lynch have pointed out the irony of police officers who are prevented by law from going on strike, keeping order at picket lines for other workers.
They are urging the Government to make a meaningful pay offer at the next review in September or risk seeing officers leave the service because they cannot make ends meet and provide for their families.
Steve, who took up the reins on 1 April, commented on the recent train strikes: “Is it just me or do you also notice the irony of 139,000 police officers across England and Wales, who have been consciously denied a real term pay rise for 11 years, policing a three-day strike caused to address pay conditions of 40,000 rail workers while taking care of business as usual?
“Everyone, including police officers and their families are struggling to make ends meet because of the unprecedented rise in costs of living and yet my colleagues in England and Wales are enduring a 20 per cent real terms wage cut set against inflation since 2010.”
Some regional Police Federations have started handing out food vouchers, he said.
Tiff observed: “As the country emerges from the pandemic, everyone is coming to terms with the cost-of-living crisis. But, in all honesty, police officers have been grappling with the cost of living for many years now.
“Inflation is hitting a 40-year high but with pay freezes and below inflation wage rises, our members have faced a 20 per cent real term cut to their salaries.”
The Federation is demanding “fair pay” which reflects the unique role police play as crown servants and the risks colleagues face; as well as an independent pay mechanism and longer-term funding settlements that for proper planning.
Liz Groom, chair of Cambridgeshire Police Federation, added: “I wholeheartedly support the case that Steve and Tiff are making.
“Colleagues are really struggling right now to afford the basics and provide for their families. They don’t have the luxury of industrial action like other services, so we are asking for some basic fairness and compassion from this Government. They say they back the police, well now it is the time to replace fine words with firm action.”