Ministers’ pay change proposal arouses fury as police face election changes

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Police were yesterday furious about Government plans to abolish their pay negotiation board.

The Home Office announced a consultation on what will replace the Police Negotiating Board (PNB), which oversees negotiations over pay and conditions.

Under the current system, officers’ groups, the Government and police authorities make submissions to the board, which arbitrates when there is disagreement.

However the proposed replacement system would involve an independent panel of Government-appointed members taking submissions from both sides, then making recommendations without arbitration.

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales Paul McKeever said: “We are extremely angry and disappointed by today’s announcement by the Home Secretary. The existing negotiating machinery, together with independent arbitration, was set to protect police officers who hold a unique position in society.

“This announcement flies in the face of the Government’s own policy on policing, to de-centralise decision-making and thus provide greater local accountability.

“On the one hand, the Government says they have respect for the role police play in society and yet their actions contradict this at every turn.”

The Home Office said the current system is inefficient because of frequent disagreements and similar processes are used for other public sector workers.

A new pay review body could also carry out necessary research.

Policing Minister Damian Green said: “An independent pay review body will ensure recommendations on pay which are fair for both the public and the police.

“It will speed up the process and provide a less adversarial, more reasoned approach than has been taken previously.”

The consultation runs until December 21. Elections for police and crime commissioners are due on November 15.

In a written statement, Home Secretary Theresa May said she would make sure the PCCs could comment, adding: “Police officers deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe, and enable them to deliver effectively for the public.”