Police officers and other public sector workers should not face a pay freeze after being on the frontline throughout the pandemic.
That is the view of Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom.
Liz was responding to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review announcement today in which he outlined plans for a pay freeze for most public sector workers. NHS workers and those earning less than £24,000 will get a wage increase.
“While this news was not unexpected, since there was speculation this would be the case at the end of last week, I cannot help feeling that the Government has got this all wrong,” says Liz.
“Police officers and other public sector workers have put their health on the line as they have continued to maintain public services and support their communities during the pandemic. I find it incredible that the Government would even consider a pay freeze for these workers.
“But the pay freeze is made even worse by the fact that during the austerity years police officers saw their pay decrease by 18 per cent in real terms. Police officers put their lives at risk as they serve and protect the public and yet their wages do not reflect their unique role in society. Today’s news just compounds that and will serve to further lower the morale of over-stretched officers.”
The Federation’s national chair, John Apter, has called the pay freeze a ‘kick in the teeth for police officers’.
“This year my colleagues have been on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19, protecting the public and putting their own safety and the safety of their families at risk. Despite the warm words and the weekly applause for key workers, it seems to count for nothing,” he said.
“We are realists; we know that the country is facing a difficult economic future. But rewarding those who have played a vital role in the fight against the virus with a pay freeze is nothing short of a disgrace.
“A handful of officers will get the additional £250 for the lowest paid workers, but only those who are already on an appallingly low starting salary for the dangerous job they do.
“I appreciate the devil will be in the detail, but the headlines from today’s announcement does nothing to show appreciation to police officers and other public sector workers who have kept the wheels turning during 2020.”