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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 22:04 GMT
Pressure on Smith over police pay
Police recruits
Police say they are getting a pay award lower than inflation
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is coming under pressure from within the government to rethink plans to stagger a pay rise for police, it is claimed.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said 10 ministers had told him of concerns and the policy should be "looked at again".

The Police Federation says members are unhappy a 2.5% rise is being staggered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But the government says the delay is necessary to reach inflation targets.

Emergency meeting

The Police Federation says the rise really amounts to 1.9%, because the 2.5% increase starts in full from 1 December rather than September.

It is considering campaigning against the legal ban on officers taking strike action.

I don't believe, from my experience of police officers, that they want to take the right to strike
Jacqui Smith
Home secretary

Police will hold an emergency meeting in central London on Wednesday over the postponement of their full pay award.

Mr Vaz, a former Europe Minister, has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to back down.

He said: "Yesterday (Monday)... 10 ministers spoke to me, all concerned, and said they had spoken to Jacqui.

"They came to me and said they would really like to sign the early day motion."

'Get the message'

He added that Police Minister Tony McNulty had been "surrounded" by concerned MPs in the Commons tearoom on Monday.

Mr Vaz, who questioned the home secretary during a session of his committee, added: "I hope Jacqui got the message today that it is something that ought to be looked at again."

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

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

Ms Smith, facing the committee, said: "I don't underestimate their concern about this pay award but I don't believe, from my experience of police officers, that they want to take the right to strike.

"I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that I put in place arrangements that are fair but also are affordable for the police service and the taxpayer."

Scottish police are having their full 2.5% pay rise backdated to September.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on police pay

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

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