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General Secretary: Pay police officers a “decent wage”

2014 Police Federation Conference, Bournemouth, Dorset, Jason Bye, 21/05/14Police officers need to be paid a “decent wage” or there is a risk the service will not attract and retain “good police officers”, an Open Meeting has heard.

Andy Fittes, general secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, there was a risk the service was “teetering on the edge of not recruiting the right people into the organisation.”

And he told officers at the Greater Manchester Police Federation Open Meeting that to get a “flexible, motivated and balanced workforce you need to pay a decent wage.”

Mr Fittes told more than 200 officers at the meeting on the Thursday 13 November, that the national the Fed is working to convince the new Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) that there is a need to pay officers this “decent” salary.

Earlier this month Home Secretary Theresa May published the remit for the new PRRB – with officers set for no more than a 1% pay rise in 2015. However the final decision will not be made until next year.

Mr Fittes said: “It is a new way of working. It is a way of joint working, with the chiefs [and] Superintendents’ Association to deliver a joint message on behalf of policing – which basically say pay officers a decent wage, otherwise you don’t get good police officers.

“It is a lot more complicated than that and obviously it has to be evidence based argument but basically that is what we are saying to the Pay Review Body… if we say it jointly on behalf of all of policing it is a stronger message.”

Mr Fittes also outlined to officers the latest on police officer pensions – scheduled to change on 1 April next year. He said that he told Home Office officials “that we must start to communicate with officers about what is going to happen to them.”

He told the meeting: “I realise pensions is a huge issue for all officers. The Government have a responsibility to tell officers what they are going to do to them as far as the new pension scheme goes.

“It is ridiculous that we are now only a few months away from the start of the new scheme and yet there has been no guidance from the Home Office on exactly what is going to happen to officers. “

He said that he had been promised that the guidance will come in January and then force pension department will be able to advise officers about where they stand.

Mr Fittes concluded: “We are playing with people’s financial futures here and that shouldn’t be something that people leave to guess work, it should be something that people make informed decisions about.”

Also at the meeting were Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy, GMP Federation chairman Ian Hanson, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle and national federation chairman Steve White.

Officers heard how the force had 8,200 police officers in 2008 and “is now heading for 6,000.”

Sir Peter spoke of the “increasing responsibility” of police officers having to care for vulnerable people. “Where we get to the point where we ask where does a police officer stop and a social worker start,” he said.

“At the moment we are doing a huge amount of social work,” Sir Peter added during the meeting. “When we are doing jobs we need to ensure that it is us that should be doing them.”

Mr Hanson praised the role of the Federation in fighting off compulsory severance for officers. “It would’ve been a game changer”, he concluded.

Date posted: November 19, 2014

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