Anger over police pay review prompts calls for legal challenge

Nick Smart, West Yorkshire Police federation chairman
Nick Smart, West Yorkshire Police federation chairman

ANGER over the size of the pay rise awarded to police has prompted West Yorkshire’s Police Federation chairman to publicly call for a legal challenge.

The Government this week announced a two per cent rise, lower than the three per cent which had been recommended by an independent panel set up to study police pay.

Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, took to social media to say the pay review system was “fundamentally flawed”, adding he had asked if the federation could consider a legal challenge to the process thorough a judicial review.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, he said he could not go into further details about any legal move, but said he struggled to see what the point of the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) was if Ministers could disregard its

advice.

He said: “It just makes a mockery of the independence of the review body. We have got to ask the question, why is it even there?”

The PRRB had recommended a two per cent pay rise, as well as the retention of a one-off one per cent bonus which had been in place this year.

Ministers have only agreed to the two per cent rise. The award comes after the Government removed a one per cent public-sector pay cap last year.

Mr Smart said police pay had been cut, in real terms, by 18 per cent in the past eight years.

He said: “It is a big hit and I think police officers not only in West Yorkshire but up and down the country are sick of being treated like this.

“We are seeing swathes of officers leave as a result.”

In May, Home Secretary Sajid Javid vowed to prioritise police spending as he offered an olive branch to rank-and-file officers following years of sniping over budget cuts and staffing reductions.

Addressing the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Mr Javid struck a softer tone than his two predecessors, pledging to provide “tools, the powers and the back-up that you need to get the job done”.

Mr Smart said the pay award, which will have to be funded from existing police budgets, had undermined this pledge.

He said: “It is disappointing, to say the least, given the positive overtures coming from Sajid Javid at conference about how he was going to fight for police budgets.

“He has fallen like a lame horse at Becher’s Brook.”

The Home Office said it had tried to strike a balance between overall affordability to forces and fairness to the taxpayer.

Mr Javid said: “Our police officers do an incredible job in the face of complex crime and rising demand, and I’m grateful for their continued dedication to keeping us safe.

“This award represents the highest consolidated pay award since 2010. I’ll continue to fight on behalf of police to ensure they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.”