Officers across South Yorkshire have seen a further squeeze in pay with the announcement of the latest pay award, which again falls below rising prices. The 2% award follows years of cuts to pay and other resources, which have led to damaged police morale, a loss of 2,000 officers and hundreds of staff for the force (and 21,000 nationally), and contributed to the recent rise in violent crime which has claimed lives in Sheffield.
It is also not funded by central Government, meaning any rise in pay must come from already stretched force budgets. This means areas like Sheffield, with a lower council tax base to contribute to police funds, are hit harder than forces like Surrey.
A pay-rise is long overdue for police officers and staff who have suffered from years of real terms pay cuts under the Tories. But today the Government again showed they don’t believe that officers are worthy of the recommendations of the independent pay review body. Today’s derisory award is yet another real-terms cut to officers’ pay.
It is also a kick in the teeth that there is no additional help from the government to cover the costs of policing. Instead, police forces will have to fund this settlement themselves, threatening yet more cutbacks in front-line policing just as serious crime is soaring.