Pay freeze for police officers is 'a slap in the face', says Suffolk Federation
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A pay freeze for police officers is "a slap in the face' following their work during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the staff association at Suffolk Constabulary.
Darren Harris, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said news of the pay freeze was a "bitter blow to officers" who have put their own health at risk while policing during the coronavirus crisis.
In a written ministerial statement to the commons on Wednesday, home secretary and Witham MP Priti Patel said that police officers earning more than £24,000 would be hit by the freeze. Those earning less will be given an annual rise of £250.
NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, and dentists in England will receive a 3% pay rise backdated to April 2021.
Mr Harris said: "Throughout the pandemic, they [officers] have carried on with a business-as-usual approach in circumstances that have been far from normal.
"They have put their own health at risk while serving their communities, dealing with all the regular calls for assistance, fighting crime, keeping order and protecting the vulnerable.
"They have also had to adapt to seemingly ever-changing Covid-19 regulations and restrictions, often at short notice, and police in what have been incredibly challenging times.
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“While doing that they have been assaulted, spat at and coughed over by individuals claiming to have coronavirus."
Mr Harris is also calling for an overhaul of the police pay review process following the news.
He added: "What is particularly galling is that the PRRB (Police Remuneration Review Body) is supposed to be an independent organisation that reviews evidence submitted by interested parties, such as the Police Federation and the Superintendents’ Association, and yet it is clearly told what it can and can’t do.
“This year, its remit from the government meant that it could not recommend a pay lift in keeping with the government’s decision to pause pay reviews for the majority of the public sector which clearly included police officers.
"It cannot be right that we are told there is an independent pay body and yet this government ties its hands."
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.