United Kingdom

Chief constable brands police pay freeze an 'insult' to officers

The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police has branded the decision to impose a pay freeze on officers as 'wholly unacceptable' and an 'insult'.

Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed earlier this week those earning more than £24,000 would be hit by the public sector pay freeze - with those earning less given an annual rise of just £250. 

Nick Adderley issued a statement to Twitter on Thursday night that read: 'Over the past 18 months I have seen officers punched, stabbed, shot, persecuted and ridiculed whilst attempting to implement confusing, rushed and ambiguous legislation, in order to protect the public and rightly, the NHS, only to be ignored when it comes to a pay settlement.

'The announcement today of a 0 per cent pay increase for police officers is quite frankly an insult and wholly unacceptable.

'Pay aside, this indicates a complete lack of awareness, appreciation or recognition for the incredible work officers have done throughout this pandemic.'

The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police has branded the decision to impose a pay freeze on officers as 'wholly unacceptable' and an 'insult'

Pay freezes were announced this week for the majority of public sector workers, including for police and teachers, but NHS staff will get a 3 per cent rise, which is to be paid out of existing health budgets, the Government confirmed.

Staff working for the National Crime Agency are also facing the same pay freeze. 

Announcing the changes in a written ministerial statement, Ms Patel said it would ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But there remains palpable anger among police chiefs at the decision not to reward frontline officers who have had a tough 16 months implementing 'confusing' coronavirus rules. 

The Police Federation of England and Wales has since said it no longer has confidence in Ms Patel before branding the bitterly-opposed pay freeze as the final straw.

The body, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the pay system is 'not fit for purpose' as it announced plans to withdraw its support from the body which reviews remuneration.    

Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed earlier this week those earning more than £24,000 would be hit by the public sector pay freeze - with those earning less given an annual rise of just £250

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, told LBC: 'We feel bitterly let down, betrayed, and this isn't just about the pay announcement that was, as you say, the final straw.

'This goes back to the vaccination programme. Let's look at the way that we were vilified and then hung out to dry during the pandemic, with the Home Secretary saying nice things and not following it up.

'It's not too late to do what the Health Secretary did, which is do a U-turn and make the announcement for the NHS staff.' 

Matthew Scott, Kent's elected police and crime commissioner, has also said that officers deserve more.

He said: 'Police officers and staff deserve a pay rise.

'Since I first tweeted this on Wednesday night, momentum has been gathering from across policing calling for the Treasury to step in and fund a pay rise for the Police.

'They've been at the frontline of this pandemic, dealing with the enforcement of regulations whilst still doing their regular work. And experiencing a massive increase in assaults.

'Financially and economically the country is in a difficult position, one accepts. Some may even disagree with me. But the position of a 'public sector pay freeze' has not been consistent, with those in the NHS and fire service receiving well deserved pay rises, as well as some others. So let's acknowledge what the police have done for us.

'I wrote to Ministers on Wednesday asking them to work with the Treasury to find a solution. I'm pleased that The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has too - because Police officers and staff deserve a pay rise.' 

Meanwhile, Labour has called on the Cabinet minister to 'consider her position' following what the party called a real-terms pay cut, with one chief constable labelling the decision 'an insult'.

Nick Thomas-Symonds said: 'The pressure is now overwhelming for the Home Secretary to listen and change course on the disastrous and insulting decision to award our police with a 0% pay award.

'If the Home Secretary would show even a fraction of the bravery we see from so many police officers, she would stand up for them around the Cabinet table and secure a fair pay deal.

'Yet, instead, we see a Conservative government that has let down our police and lost their confidence.'

Shadow policing minister Sarah Jones said Ms Patel has made a 'litany of errors' during her tenure, citing Boris Johnson's decision to back his minister earlier this year despite his former ethics adviser finding that her behaviour towards Home Office staff had amounted to bullying.

The Labour MP told Sky News: 'We said she should look at her position when she was found to have broken the ministerial code for bullying.

'She has a litany of errors that she has made since she became Home Secretary but the buck stops with the Prime Minister on this one.'

Pushed on whether she was asking for Ms Patel to stand down following the pay decision, Ms Jones replied: 'We are saying she needs to consider her position.'

Cabinet colleague George Eustice, however, defended the Home Secretary, declaring that he has full confidence in her.

Asked on Sky News about the vote of no confidence, the Environment Secretary said: 'Under her watch we've been increasing police numbers and it's also the case that she's taken action to make sure the police have got the powers that they need to do their job and to remove some of the frustration, so I think she's doing a fine job as Home Secretary.

'Whatever job you're in you will get a degree of criticism, there will be things you have to do that may well be the right thing to do, but aren't always popular with everyone. That's par for the course, it goes with the territory.'  

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