Page last updated at 20:09 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 21:09 UK

Police fury at pay offer 'insult'

Police on patrol
The police are currently banned from going on strike

The government has betrayed police with an "insulting" pay offer, leaders of rank-and-file officers have said.

Pay negotiations broke down after officials offered a 2.325% pay award, which the Police Federation said amounted to a cut in real terms.

Its chairman, Paul McKeever, said the offer "adds to the sense of injustice" felt by police officers last year.

But the official side of the Police Negotiating Board said the police were made a "generous" offer.

A spokeswoman for the official side said the police were offered a three-year pay deal "which was one of the most generous in the public sector".

"Regrettably they rejected it. That is why we were forced to offer a one- year deal. That offer was in line with the index recommended by the independent police arbitration tribunal last year," she said.

Last year's deal led to a dispute with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and 20,000 officers marched in London in protest.

If they felt angry about last year, then this year they'll be furious

Julie Nesbit
Police Federation

The latest development could further strengthen calls within the police to seek the right to take industrial action, including striking.

Mr McKeever said: "We will take our very fair and reasonable claim of 3.5% to conciliation or the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal and fight to ensure that police officers receive the very best deal possible."

He said officials on the Police Negotiating Board - the organisation which brokers pay deals - seemed to have had their "hands tied behind their backs" by the government.

Julie Nesbit, who chairs the Federation's constables committee, said the pay offer had been "a complete betrayal", adding that "police officers will be very angry".

"If they felt angry about last year, then this year they'll be furious," she said.

In terms of the next stage, she said there was a need to "wait and see".

However, she added: "If it is not what we consider fair, then we will have to take what action we need to in order to show the government our anger and frustration."

By law, police are banned from taking industrial action.

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