The UK Government’s public sector pay deal announced today is not good enough. It was announced that police officers would receive a 2% increase in pay, but with no central funding it will merely place more pressure on local constabularies.
According to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales the staffing and employee budget for the force totalled £127,092,000 for 2018/19. When you increase that funding by the 2% promised by the UK Government it means that North Wales Police will need to find £2,541,840 to increase police officers pay. As this money will be coming out of the limited budgets already held by North Wales Police it means that there will be limited funding available for recruitment, which is much needed.
North Wales Police has lost nearly 100 officers since 2010 due to funding cuts. It has seen its budgets cut by £2.1m when inflation is taken into account. The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Police has stated previously that the force is now spending almost £30m per year less than if these cuts had not been imposed.
This year the lack of central government funding meant that the police precept from Council Tax had to increase by 3.58%.
Our police and public sector workers deserve a pay-rise. But it should be based in reality and not upon myth. The UK Government has decided to announce this pay settlement without putting their hands in their own pockets. This means that police forces up and down the country will be expected to find the funds themselves.
North Wales Police will now have to spend an estimated £2.5m to cover the costs associated with this settlement. This will divert already stretched funds away from recruiting new officers and giving the police the support they need. To place the burden of a large expenditure, like this, on local communities is reckless. The UK Government should pool the resources of the country and redistribute wealth from more affluent areas.
It is clear for all to see that slashing 20,000 officers from frontline policing in the UK has helped see crime rise. Violent crime has risen to some of the highest levels witnessed in 20 years and if our police forces continue to be underfunded in this way then I have grave doubts that the rise in crime will be tackled.