UK

Police Federation of England and Wales no longer has confidence in home secretary, calling pay freeze ‘final straw’

The Police Federation of England and Wales says it no longer has confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel and has branded a pay freeze for officers “the
final straw”.

The body, which represents rank-and-file officers, has also withdrawn its support and engagement from the Police Remuneration Review Body, labelling the current pay mechanism ‘not fit for purpose’.

National Chair John Apter said: “The move follows Wednesday’s pay announcement and Home Secretary Priti Patel’s claim that the government ‘recognises the bravery, commitment and professionalism’ of police officers, while offering no improved financial package to our members to illustrate that is the case.”

“I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing,” Mr Apter added.

The government announced yesterday it would give NHS workers in England a 3% pay rise backdated to April 2021 to recognise their pandemic efforts during an “unprecedented year” – but the sum was blasted as “paltry” and “shambolic”.

And Ms Patel confirmed that those earning more than £24,000 would be hit by a pay freeze, with those earning less than this sum to be given an annual rise of £250.

In a statement released on Thursday following a National Council meeting, the Police Federation said there is “enormous anger” among officers, with many believing the government “takes them for granted and treats them with contempt”.

“The warm words officers heard from the home secretary and the prime minister at PFEW’s (Police Federation of England and Wales) recent annual conference have not been backed up with action,” the statement reads.

“This week’s pay announcement essentially amounts to a pat cut. It is an insult to the thousands of brave men and women who do so much for their communities.”

And Mr Apter added: “We often hear the home secretary praise police officers but our members are so angry with this government.

“They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing.

“At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination.

“They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw.

“As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current home secretary. I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”

The home secretary announced the pay freeze for police officers in a written ministerial statement on Wednesday.

“This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of reduced hours, suppressed earnings growth and increased redundancies, whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects,” the statement read.

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