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Last Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007, 11:24 GMT
Police reject Home Office message
Acting Ch Con Andy Edwards
Acting Ch Con Andy Edwards said most officers felt let down
Three of Wales' four chief constables have refused to pass on Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's Christmas message to staff after a row over pay.

A 2.5% pay rise was expected to be backdated to September but Ms Smith said it would only go back to December.

In reaction, Dyfed-Powys Police, South Wales Police and Gwent Police said they would not pass on her Christmas message to staff.

Despite criticising the pay deal, North Wales Police circulated the message.

A spokesperson for the North Wales force said: "We are not in the business of censorship. We will be passing on the Home Secretary's Christmas message."

However, speaking about his decision not to pass on the Christmas message to rank and file officers, Dyfed-Powys Police's acting chief constable Andy Edwards said: "There is a great deal of disappointment and anger at the decision of the home secretary and most police officers feel badly let down and totally undervalued by the actions of the Home Office.

Ch Con Barbara Wilding
Ch Con Barbara Wilding says the pay award should be honoured

"It would be insensitive to them therefore, especially at this time, to pass on remarks that they would regard as lacking conviction."

In the neighbouring South Wales force, a spokesman explained chief constable Barbara Wilding's reasons for not circulating the message.

"A decision was taken not to circulate the home secretary's message following representations from police officers.

"Miss Wilding has made clear her view that the home secretary should honour the police pay tribunal's ruling."

A spokesman for Gwent Police said: "We have received a Christmas message from the home secretary and it will not be passed onto staff. "

North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom has passed on the message to staff but in his blog earlier this month, he criticised the decision not to backdate the rise to September for police in England, Northern Ireland and Wales as a "kick in the teeth".

Public sector weekly pay chart

He said the UK Government was being "shabby and dishonourable".

The 2.5% pay deal was decided through the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal.

It will see all police constables paid a minimum of 21,500, while those with the longest service will receive 33,800.

But officers say if it is introduced this month and not backdated to September, an entry level police constable will lose 131, and a sergeant will lose 206.

The Scottish Government has agreed to implement the tribunal's award in full.

The police are forbidden from taking strike action by an act of Parliament. The Police Federation will ballot in the new year over a demand this ban is removed.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the decision was "in the national interest" and to keep inflation down.

More than 160 MPs have urged ministers to rethink the decision to stagger the police pay award.

SEE ALSO
Q&A: Police pay dispute
12 Dec 07 |  UK
Pay deal 'in national interest'
13 Dec 07 |  UK Politics

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