Police pay dispute hits morale

AN INFLUENTIAL Essex Police boss has launched a stinging attack on the Government after it refused to grant an index linked pay rise, saying the row has been affecting morale.

AN INFLUENTIAL Essex Police boss has launched a stinging attack on the Government after it refused to grant an index linked pay rise, saying the row has been affecting morale.

Sue Kelly, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, said it was ironic the force faces “bailing out” the Government by putting up prisoners in the county's cells despite having their pay demands turned down.

She also questioned whether the public could be given a rebate on their council tax bills if the eventual pay increase was less than the amount budgeted for.

For the past 27 years police officers have enjoyed index linked pay, but this year forces across the country were offered, and turned down, a non-index linked increase of just over 2%.


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The final figure will now be set by an arbitration panel next week, just as Essex Police is due to start taking in prisoners into the cells of Rayleigh police station as the nation's jails reach capacity.

Ms Kelly said: “Officers looking after prisoners should not have a detrimental effect on the force, but I think it is ironic police officers have to dig out the Home Office when it has not seen fit to honour our pay agreement.

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“The police authority had budgeted for the amount to be 3% and the money is there, but there is a belief that Gordon Brown wanted public sector pay rises to be limited to 2%.”

The row broke out at the start of last month, when the pay increase should have been agreed, and has rumbled on, which Ms Kelly says has been affecting the morale of officers.

“We cannot strike, but if it is not given you would have a lot of disgruntled and unhappy police officers. “It is not doing an awful lot of good for morale and it is at heightened state of terrorism that the public look to police to keep them safe yet they don't see fit to reward that.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The Police Negotiating Board had made the 2.2% pay offer on behalf of the Home Office and police chiefs.

“The official side has made it clear to the staff side that it wishes to discuss indexation arrangements with them with a view to ensuring these arrangements are in line with government policy on public-sector and are affordable and sustainable.

“The official side wished to discuss and negotiate this year's claim with the staff side in this context.

“However, the staff side wished to enter a failure to agree and the official side agreed to their request to proceed straight to conciliation.”

An arbitration panel is due to meet on Wednesday to decide on the pay.

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