Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Friday, 7 December 2007

Anger grows over police pay deal

Police recruits
Officers' groups say they are getting a pay award lower than inflation

The Police Federation is seeking an urgent meeting with the home secretary to protest against her decision not to backdate a 2.5% pay rise.

It says the rise for officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland really amounts to 1.9%, as it starts from 1 December rather than September.

The federation adds it is considering campaigning against the legal ban on officers taking strike action.

The government says the pay rise is in line with its inflation target.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "We've been through a process of arbitration.

"The arbitration board recommended an award of 2.5% which we have accepted.

HAVE YOUR SAY
As a serving Police Constable in Lancashire Constabulary, I could not and would not go on strike
Ben, Lancashire

"But I have staged it so that instead of coming into operation on the first of September it comes into operation on the first of December."

Ms Smith added that the pay award would be "just under 2%", keeping it in line with the government's target for inflation.

The increase will see all officers paid a minimum of 21,500, with those with the longest service receiving 33,800.

Ballot call

The Police Federation says officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland had been told their pay would be backdated to September, as it was in Scotland.

BBC home affairs correspondent Andy Tighe says there is widespread anger at the announcement within the service.

Police officers need faith in their hours and conditions system, and at the moment they haven't got it
Jan Berry, Police Federation

But he adds that the government is standing firm, saying police officers shouldn't get a better deal than other public service workers such as nurses.

The police are forbidden from taking strike action by an act of parliament, although some Police Federation members are calling for a ballot to demand this ban is removed.

Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation in England and Wales, said each police officer would lose about 200 as a result of the failure to backdate the rise to September, but there was a greater principle involved.

She told BBC Breakfast: "The one group of workers who can do absolutely nothing about this - it's a criminal offence for us to go on strike or even to talk about withdrawing labour in any shape at all - the one group of workers who have no other opportunity to do this are having this done to them.

"Now, if we were any other part of the public sector, people would be balloting to go on strike. We can't do that.

"So for me, you either have to have industrial rights, or you have to have binding arbitration, and we have neither."

The chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, Labour MP Keith Vaz, urged Ms Smith to reverse her decision, which he condemned as "petty and mean".

He said: "Over the last 10 years the police have been asked to take on many new responsibilities including dealing with counter-terrorism. I am not surprised that so many of them are angry.

"It is important that the people who put their lives on the line for us every day are shown that their dedication is appreciated."

The chairman of the Chief Police Officers' Staff Association, Dr Tim Brain, said there was no justification for not backdating the pay.

He said: "The men and women of the police service in England and Wales can be relied upon to do their duty in support of the public they serve, but this settlement will be greeted with dismay."


video and audio news
Police officers speak of their anger over the pay dispute



SEE ALSO
Pay deal boost for Scots police
06 Dec 07 |  Scotland
Police officers accept pay offer
29 Nov 07 |  Scotland

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