Public sector pay freeze is ‘kick in the teeth’, police federation says
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A public sector pay freeze for police officers has been described as a “kick in the teeth” by the county’s police federation.
Darren Harris, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said the government is punishing “the very people that kept the country going” through the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the spending review unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, those earning less than £24,000 will get a rise of at least £250 next year.
Mr Sunak did tell MPs that “pay progressions and promotions will carry on” in the public sector which will refer to police officers who receive or are scheduled to receive incremental rises.
Mr Harris said: “This move is a kick in the teeth - and the government is punishing the very people that has kept the country going through out the pandemic.
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“I accept the country is in a very difficult place with regard to finances and the fiscal pressures are very real. But they need to start ‘thinking outside of the public sector box’ when it comes to finding a solution to the problem.
“The pandemic is far from over, with new tiers and regulations to impose over Christmas and EU exit around the corner, who will they call on to keep country ‘open’ and ‘safe’ - the police? When it will be fresh in their minds that they are not worthy of a pay increase.
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“Police officers had only just started to claw back some of the 18% reduction in real time pay and this will only further increase that figure.”
MORE: Revealed: Police deal with nearly 5,000 mental health-related calls a year in SuffolkJohn Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said the extra £250 would only apply to a small handful of officers who were already on “an appallingly low starting salary”.
He said: “After years of austerity and a real terms pay cut of 18%, today’s news will be 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.
“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.”