Police constables’ pay will be linked to their professional development for the first time under changes that take effect on Sunday.
Previously the main criteria governing progression through the pay scale was an officer’s length of service.
But now PCs who have completed their initial training will need to pass a competency assessment in order to continue to move through the salary structure.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “This Government is finishing the job of police reform and I want professionalism to be the first word that comes to mind when we think about the police.
“Establishing this first link between what constables are paid and their ongoing professional development will help officers continue to improve, and maintain the highest possible standards.”
The changes will put in place a link between officers’ pay progression and the College of Policing’s Assessing and Recognition of Competence model (ARC).
This examines the competency of an officer in their core role, assessing their performance in areas including supporting victims, carrying out searches, conducting investigations and interviewing suspects.
Successful completion confirms that they can be deployed in any relevant operational role.
It will apply to constables at pay point 3, which roughly equates to between two and four years of service.
The salary for officers at this stage is £24,975, and after passing a Foundation competency assessment they will move to pay point 4 at £26,016.
Those who do not pass the assessment would agree a “timed development plan” lasting between four weeks and 11 months with their line manager, and move to the next pay grade once this has been achieved.
Further thresholds for officers at different levels of seniority will be explored as the College of Policing moves forward with the next stage of the ARC programme.
It will also examine whether a process of re-accreditation should be introduced, similar to that employed in other professions such as nursing.
A number of other changes to how police are promoted, qualified and enter the service were announced in December. That overhaul will mean all new recruits will have to be educated to degree level in future, a national set of qualifications following promotion will be introduced and officers will be able to get recognition seen in other professions by obtaining education qualifications which acknowledge their skills.