Police deserve more pay but striking is not the answer

Posted on July 21, 2016 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

2016 Police Federation Conference, Bournemouth, Dorset, Jason Bye, 17/05/16

POLICE officers must be paid properly for the job they do – but demanding industrial rights could lead to unintended consequences, Devon and Cornwall Police Federation has said.

Chairman Nigel Rabbitts said the high cost of living in the force area means some officers are “sinking in debt” and claimed the local economy could suffer if officers are forced to move out of the region to a cheaper area.

He was speaking after the Police Remuneration Review Body announced a 1% pay rise for all officers – under the 2.8% rise recommended by the Police Federation of England and Wales and the Superintendents’ Association.

Mr Rabbitts said: “Our costs of living in the West Country are some of the highest in the country, and we’re not just treading water, we’re actually sinking in financial debt. People should be reimbursed properly for the job they do.

“It can’t continue because there are a marked number of people now leaving the service because they can get better pay doing something else.”

However, Mr Rabbitts said industrial right – including the right to strike – would not necessarily be in the best interests of the service.

He said: “One of the problems is that there is a massive danger in industrial rights because we’ve seen the other trade unions in the public sector on strike and they actually haven’t got anywhere. And of course if you ask the for those rights, they come with them redundancy and severance which we’ve been fighting a long time not to have.

“There is a danger, maybe it’s something that needs to be looked at again, and maybe it is something that’ll just make the Government sit up, but I fear there are consequences to industrial rights and those consequences might not be in the general interest of our members.”

Instead, Mr Rabbitts said the economic argument would be more useful in trying to get a better level of pay for officers.

“We’ve got to use the argument of our local member of parliament saying that we’re a large employer in our region and if people haven’t got the money to spend then the whole economy will suffer, the regional economy will suffer,” he said.

“If you can’t afford to buy the houses then people will drift away and then it’s that viscious cycle that people will leave the service and we won’t be able to replace them quick enough. I’m not saying there aren’t people queueing up to join the police service because there are, but replacing someone with 25 years’ experience with somebody who has no experience isn’t the answer.

“Our members are completely disillusioned, they can’t get on the housing ladder and that also means that it’s not good for morale and it’s not good for encouraging officers to go to those harder-to-reach areas. It’s hard to get them to go to those places where they know they can’t actually afford to live.”