Further cuts to policing announced in Chancellor’s budget

THE police service faces a further one per cent budget cut, while police officers look set to have their pay rises capped at one per cent for the next three years.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget on Wednesday (20 March) that most government departments will see a one per cent reduction in 2013/14 and again in 2014/15. The police budget will be protected for the first year but not necessarily the second.

Steve White, vice chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, warned that a further one per cent cut could see the “equivalent of a whole police force lost” within the current overall budget.

“This will impact heavily on forces’ ability to protect the public,” he said.

The Chancellor also announced that public sector pay rises would be capped at one per cent for the next three years. The only public sector workers exempt were said to be military employees, who will receive a full recommended increase of 1.5 per cent.

The current two-year police officer pay freeze is expected to come to an end on 31 August this year and the coalition government has previously said that pay increases for the next two years will be capped at one per cent.

This week it announced that the cap would be extended for another year to 2015/16. The expected rise will be less than half of that seen for officers in the three years preceding the pay freeze.

A deal was struck in 2008 that saw an increase in officers’ pay of 2.65 per cent for 2008/09, 2.6 per cent for 2009/10 and 2.55 per cent for 2010/11.

Frontline officers have previously complained that a one per cent pay rise “just wouldn’t cut it” with the increasing costs of living, rise in pension contributions, limited promotions and scrapping of competence related threshold payments.

The final agreed increase will be introduced on September 1 this year.

Ian Rennie, General Secretary, Police Federation of England and Wales said: “In respect of the pay award for 2013-14, the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board, which includes the  PFEW, has written to the Official Side asking for its proposals on a cost of living increase in September.

“It will be for individual Government departments to determine the level of pay increases for their respective workforces in 2015-16. The PFEW would expect that any such decision would have to come through the pay-setting machinery for police officers, and we will remind the Official Side that in addition to the Winsor progression freeze and other changes to pay, and the increases in pension contributions, police officers have already endured a two year pay freeze.”