As a former Police Minister I am warning that the gerrymandering of police pay means that North Wales Police could see a further pressure and increase in costs for council tax payers.
On Tuesday 10th September the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) announced their recommendations for the 2017/18 pay settlement.
The Policing Remuneration Review Body recommend a 2% consolidated pay rise to all pay points for federate and superintending ranks.
At PMQs this week the Prime Minister claimed that the government had accepted the independent body’s recommendations in full. This is untrue. Instead they offered a 1% payrise and a 1% one-off non-consolidated payment to officers at federated and superintending ranks. The additional 1% is non-pensionable.
The Government confirmed in their response that the new pay settlement would be unfunded. This means that already over-stretched police forces that had budgeted for a 1% pay increase will now have to find additional funds to cover a further 1% increase backdated from 1st September for one year.
The National Police Chiefs Council warned that “without better real terms funding protection from government an award above one percent will inevitably impact on our ability to deliver policing services and maintain staffing levels”.
As the Government will not be funding this increase in pay it means that North Wales Police will have to foot the bill. They are working with stretched budgets already, with £4 million of cuts being implemented already since 2010. Further restrictions on central government funding could mean that local government precept must increase – meaning council tax payers seeing their tax bill increase – or the loss of more police officers from the beat.
The Government is refusing to fund this pay-rise it means that North Wales Police will have to fund it themselves. Let us not forget that they have had their budgets cut by £4 million since 2010, which resulted in 138 police officers being cut. North Wales Police are working hard to keep us safe but without the support of central government they are finding it harder to do the job they care so passionately about.
Our police are already stretched and with human resources being the biggest cost to a force this unfunded pay-rise will undermine operations further. The only two options left for North Wales Police will be to either increase the local government precept – meaning local taxation increases – or lay off more officers. Both are terrible outcomes for our community.