Police Arbitration Tribunal supports pay overhaul

The Police Arbitration Tribunal has backed major changes in police officers pay, as recommended in Tom Winsor’s Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions.

The recommendations include a suspension on bonuses, two-year freeze on police officers moving up incremental payscales, and curbs on overtime pay.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are extremely disappointed with the decision by the Police Arbitration Tribunal and know that many police officers across England and Wales will be angry and dismayed about their future.

“However, we entered in to the negotiation process in good faith and therefore, whilst not happy with the entire decision, accept its ruling.

“This considerable commitment to reform, together with the financial savings offered from police pay by a staff association, is unprecedented. The fact that the official side rejected the alternative proposals demonstrates that this is not about making fiscal savings but a conscious and deliberate attack on the police service.”

In response to the announcement from the Police Arbitration Tribunal, data compiled by think tank Policy Exchange showed that gross annual pay for police offers puts them in the top 20% of earners in the UK.

The data, drawn from official 2011 figures, found that over half (60%) of all police officers receive basic pay, overtime and additional cash benefits that puts them among the top earners.

The median gross annual police officer pay is £40,402, compared to a median gross annual pay in the wider economy of £21,326.

Police officers receive a number of benefits on top of their basic pay and overtime, including free travel in London and housing allowances paid to all officers who joined before September 1994.

In London, officer pay is further inflated because local allowances are more generous: the median gross annual pay of an officer in London is £45,534.

In the Metropolitan Police, there are 7,800 officers in ranks above constable who are more highly paid, including 5,500 sergeants whose gross annual pay ranges from £47,000 to at least £53,000.

Based on Policy Exchange’s analysis, almost half (at least 44%) of the Met’s officers are among the top 10% best paid in the UK.

Blair Gibbs, head of crime and justice at Policy Exchange, said: “Most police officers do a difficult job for which they deserve proper recognition but one thing they are not is underpaid.

“Our police are well paid and should remain so, but the whole police pay system is outdated and fails to recognise those cops who do the hardest jobs or perform the best. The current system does not distinguish between a constable in the back office who works 9-5 and a young cop who is out on the street or on night shifts, doing the most difficult work.

“We need a modern system of police remuneration that is fairer for officers and taxpayers, by removing old-fashioned perks and allowances, and rewarding cops for anti-social hours and the skills they have, not just for their rank and how long they have served.”

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