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Police chiefs under fire over pay

Police chiefs have come under fire from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) and the Police Superintendents' Association (PSA) in its joint submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) which deals with police pay.

In this year's submission - published today - a pay rise of 3.4% has been asked for by PFEW and PSA, in line with inflation. The report gives evidence as to why. But the submission also criticises the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) around its lack of transparency and remains "deeply concerned" that the Home Secretary's Remit Letter implies that the NPCC's plans for pay reform are more advanced than believed to be the case and that this "puts both the PRRB and the staff associations in an invidious position." Andy Fittes, PFEW General Secretary, explained that PFEW's analysis of the economic circumstances has led to an insistence that an uplift for all officers of 3.4% is considered in line with inflation. Additionally, the 1% element of last year's uplift that was unconsolidated should now be consolidated and should not affect this year's uplift.

"The Home Secretary must act on the independent advice of the PRRB: doing otherwise last year has undermined the credibility of the process, and the mechanisms that this government introduced," said Mr Fittes.

The joint submission also goes on to criticise a lack of transparency in the remit letter process, and the inaccurate assumptions contained within it - which we believe imply the NPCC's plans for pay reform are further progressed than we understand them to be.

"We find it difficult to comment on how the uplift would support NPCC plans, given the lack of any written proposals for pay restructuring," continued Mr Fittes. "But officers must not be penalised for the NPCC's lack of progress.

"We note that the remit letter states any award must be considered 'in the context of how it will support overarching NPCC proposals and timetable for a new pay structure.' For four years now the NPCC has implied that sizable uplifts might scupper their plans: that savings must be built up in order to pay for the changes coming; and that one way to do this is to make uplifts unconsolidated.

Given the NPCC has not provided a firm timescale and plans, we ask when this line of argument will end? It is not palatable to officers who should not suffer financial loss for the NPCC's failure to make progress."

The submission also criticises the lack of engagement by the NPCC, a failure to bring discussions to the appropriate fora, and a lack of engagement in the Police Consultative Forum in particular, even though the matters raised in last year's PRRB submission by the NPCC implied that these would be worked through in that particular forum.

In addition, the NPCC's proposals for officer apprenticeship pay to start at £18,000 was considered "a derisory offer," which would "cause considerable hardship to any apprentice taking it up." We see no reason to move away from our recommendation in last year's submission, that apprentices should be incorporated within the existing pay scale.

"The NPCC has failed to provide proposals or time-limited targeted pay, despite the fact they have asked for targeted pay to be included two years in a row in the remit letter. We are dumbfounded as the NPCC has failed to provide any proposals, either in draft or final," concluded Mr Fittes.