Anger as nearly 180 Suffolk police staff face salary cut, while more than 400 will get pay rise

Police officers will not be affected by the pay cuts, but civilian workers will

Police officers will not be affected by the pay cuts, but civilian workers will

Nearly 180 civilian staff at Suffolk Constabulary are facing pay cuts while more than 420 will get salary increases after an evaluation of their roles.

Some of those of the workers affected are said to be looking at losing thousands of pounds from their current pay packets, although the re-gradings will not come in for two years.

One member of staff whose salary is due to be decreased said: “I think this is now going to push people to leave. I think it is pretty disgusting the way some staff have been treated this week.”

The force announced today that it had completed an assessment of all police staff roles across the organisation in conjunction with Norfolk Constabulary.

Suffolk has a total of 1,072 civilian personnel.

The assessment of their roles has resulted in 44% (469) remaining on the same salary, with 39% (424) getting increases and 17% (179) scheduled to be decreased.

Those whose salary is due to reduce will have a two-year period of pay protection to ensure there is no immediate impact on them. There is also an appeals procedure.

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Suffolk’s Acting Chief Constable Gareth Wilson stressed the constabulary had no option due to equality legislation other than to go through the evaluation process with Norfolk.

Although many workers will benefit from their roles being upgraded Mr Wilson said he was not oblivious to the feelings of those who had lost out.

He said: “I understand their anger and frustration and recognise this may be the case, but this had to be done.

“We are an employer with equality at its heart. When equality audits say your pay structure is not fit for purpose you have to act on it.”

Suffolk and Norfolk police have been collaborating for more than five years, forming joint departments and units in both operational and support functions.

The majority of police staff are now in these teams, working alongside each other to help provide a policing service to both counties.

While their formation has improved efficiency, some staff are paid a different salary for performing exactly the same function as colleagues from the other organisation.

To resolve the issue, a job evaluation process was launched around four years ago to examine some 800 roles, which are carried out by more than 2,300 people in Norfolk and Suffolk, to harmonise pay, terms and conditions for all police staff employees across both forces.

The evaluation process was completed in consultation with UNISON which will now be holding a ballot of members over whether to accept the proposals.

Mr Wilson added: “It is important to stress that this process is not about saving money. In fact, the introduction of the scheme will have a moderate cost.

“The process is about equality, consistency and harmonisation across the two organisations and has been conducted completely separately to our work to implement change programmes in order to meet government spending cuts.”