Police pay to start £4,000 lower, at £19,000


Ex police minister Nick Herbert said it meant new officers would be paid for their skills, rather than their length of service

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The starting salary for police constables in England and Wales is being cut by £4,000 to £19,000, the home secretary has confirmed.

Theresa May has accepted recommendations on reform made by the Police Arbitration Tribunal.

It follows proposals put forward last year in a review for an overhaul of police pay, conditions and allowances.

The Police Federation said it was "disappointed" by the announcement.

The Scottish Ministry of Justice tweeted: "Home Office cuts to police starting salaries will not be imposed in Scotland."

Ex-rail regulator Tom Winsor, the review's author, was appointed last year as the Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, the first non-policeman named to the post.

He recommended £1bn could be cut from police pay.

Mrs May has deferred plans to allow forces to make officers redundant to allow for further negotiation.

A special bonus - known as a competence-related threshold payment (CRTP) - will also be phased out over the next three years.

The CRTP - which is worth £1,200 a year - was first mooted for scrapping by the Winsor report in 2011.

The BBC's home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds said the starting salary would be £19,000 for recruits with no policing experience but £22,000 for more experienced officers, such as those who had worked as special constables or PCSOs.

Tom Winsor's review of police pay concluded there should be a lower starting salary for some new officers. So while there has been a £4,000 cut for recruits with no experience, such as those coming straight from school at 18, older recruits with relevant experience, such as a period as a special constable, will start to earn £22,000 a year.

But the deal also means that many constables will have the opportunity to move to the top of the pay scale more quickly, currently around £36,000.

Tom Winsor's review aimed to ensure police officers would be paid for their skills, rather than time served.

Proposals to allow chiefs to make constables redundant remain under discussion. Supporters say it would help them get rid of dead wood. Critics say it would threaten the independence of constables.

He said the proposals also cut the number of pay scales from 10 to 7, meaning officers could reach the higher pay grade of £36,000 more quickly.

Under the PAT proposals police in London get extra payments of £6,615 a year and those in the south-east of England up to £2,000 because of higher living costs.

Mrs May said: "These reforms build on the changes we implemented [in January last year].

'Modernise pay'

"They continue our programme to modernise... pay and conditions so that they are fair to both officers and the taxpayer. They include measures to re-target pay to reward contribution, increase local flexibility and make important structural changes to enable further reform."

Labour's shadow policing minister, David Hanson, said: "There is a real worry that the proposed starting salary for all police officers will damage the ability of police forces to recruit officers of the right skills and experience and directly contradicts the government's own wish to limit recruitment to those with three A-levels and recruit professional people from outside the police."

The chairman of the Police Federation in England and Wales, Steve Williams, said: "Whilst we remain disappointed with some of the PAT's recommendations we acknowledge that the home secretary has honoured the process of the Police Negotiating Board.

"We will continue to engage fully on behalf of our members."

But Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said morale in the police force was at "an all-time low" and added: "This is the wrong time to cut the pay of ordinary police officers."

The Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo) lead on workforce development, chief constable Peter Fahy, said: "In a service where over 80% of budget is spent on people, it is more vital than ever that we have terms and conditions for all staff that both reward them for what they do and represent value for money.

"Officers can also reach the top rate of pay three years earlier than under the current arrangements."

At the weekend the BBC reported how the number of young police officers in England and Wales had fallen by nearly 50% in two years.

Overall police numbers hit a nine-year low in 2012, due to tighter budget constraints slowing recruitment.

Currently sworn police officers are servants of the Crown, not employees, so they cannot be made redundant.

Tom Winsor The salary changes were originally recommended by former rail regulator Tom Winsor

But some forces have been using a regulation known as A19 to make officers with 30 years experience or more retire early.

The Winsor Report recommended allowing forces to make any police officer redundant, not just those with 30 years experience.

Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the Scottish government did not commission the Winsor review and he said: "We will not impose changes to the terms and conditions of our hard-working, dedicated officers.

"Starting salaries for our police constables in Scotland will stay the same.

"The police service in Scotland will not be privatised, we will safeguard officer numbers, we will not implement the Winsor package north of the border."

A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland's Department of Justice said: "The announcement by the Home Secretary regarding pay scales will relate to new recruits in England and Wales.

"The minister, the Policing Board and the PSNI routinely consider developments elsewhere in the UK and their potential implications in the context of Northern Ireland. Any proposals relating to pay are negotiated at Police Negotiating Board in the usual way."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    How dare they cut the salaries and pensions of the police, soilders, fire men, nurses and Immigration staff facing real dangers andto keep this country safe.
    Yet they demand a 32% pay increase on 65K salaries and there is no reform of thier gold plated final salery pensions which pay out an avarage of 24K a year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    The headline of a cut of £4000 is more of a headline grabber, I thought at first it sounded a bit harsh until I read more into it.

    All in all it probably is fair in the way the money is distributed to what you do as opposed to just how long you have been there.

    This is mainly related to the starting salary and for those which have gained skills before they start can start on a higher salary

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    Should we not be looking for a first class elite police force, with the very best candidates being recruited? If so reducing pay is not the way forward I would have thought?

    Another big race to the bottom I fear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the Scottish government did not commission the Winsor review and he said: "We will not impose changes to the terms and conditions of our hard-working, dedicated officers.
    No Kenny, but by imposing a single Scottish police force this year you are cutting back on actual staff levels!
    It's already started in the support staff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    Remind me.

    What is an MP's starting salary?

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    And MPs are asking for an extra £20,000 plus their pensions, expenses etc left alone! We are all in it together....

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    Why are people comparing the Military & Police? Do we want military policing us?

    The current mobs bad enough as proven over & again be it cover ups in paedo scandals, collusion with the media (see Leveson) overuse of tasers to deal with civil unrest (in Britain? maybe, if you beat up a young girl in tottenham first eh?!), but the comparison is stupid; as is thinking fighting war a worthwhile job

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    Police have been milking the system for overtime and rest day working for years, mostly because when they do do overtime the first 30mins are ment to be 'for the queen', ie unpaid, so they inflate their hours to compensate. Simple fraud but they think nothing of it. Hypocrites the lot of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    So we now have an ex-rail regulator dictating pay in the police force, so what qualifies him to make such decisions? Does having experience in the railways have relevance in deciding police pay? If so then perhaps he can look into MPs claims that they need their wages to rise by 32% while cutting police pay. Scorched earth politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    19K to start in a job that requires no qualifications? I can't think of a better option for an 18 year old. The other terms are better than most too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    It is about time ALL Public Sector staged a walkout, The Tories count on us all feeling we must serve our country/communities, and hammer us constantly. Cameron would soon change his tune when his Police protection walked out and the public were banging on the door of No10 telling him exactly how well liked he is. Ps N.Clegg I WILL NEVER VOTE LIB AGAIN,YOU HAVE BETRAYED US ALL.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    Given the police's involvement in selling stories to the tabloids & the plebgate fiasco, i would hope that they get their own house in order before expecting a wave of sympathy. However, trainees should be given a bursary as i believe nurses receive. P.S. debt not reduced because most austerity measures not yet introduced - max benefit not reduced for 2 more years ! 2 more years od leeching !

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    @402 Wallywalnut

    "If an alien was to land here...he would exclaim "You Earthlings don't know how to run a planet""

    I think if an alien were to land here, it would wonder why we are complaining about school leavers earning £19k, but not about PhD students only having a stipend of around £14k.

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    Nurses, teachers, police. All face pay cuts.

    Meanwhile the Conservatives are giving huge tax cuts to the super rich and their friends like Murdoch.

    This government of millionaires are a disgrace!

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    so now I am beggining to understand the absurdity of how the search for the missing girl in Wales has cost £2,000,000. Police overtime should be stopped and more officers employed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    Were all in this together. "This" is an anagram of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    I realise it's pretty much a cardinal sin on HYS to praise the Scottish government, but hooray for the Scottish government!
    We're having to cut costs, but this seems over the top. I'm sure we'd get a bigger benefit by asking certain companies (or indeed certain people) to pay their fair share of tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    Seem to remember, when banks were queried about thier enormous wage deals and bonuses, the short reply was that they needed the correct incentives to attract the best people.........I`m guessing that doesn't work for us plebs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    Anyone think it strange that to get the best people and offer value for money, you have to pay MPs and their mates way over the odds, but to get the best out of everyone else, you need to cut, cut, cut.....

    Class warfare is being conducted in the UK, and the playing field is now so badly skewed that imbalances and injustices will cost too much to rectify.

    Time to say "Enough!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    £19k for a police constable. That is an absolute joke and complete waste of taxpayers money.
    Structure should be £12k basic and commisions for actually resolving crimes/ catching criminals etc.
    About time we stopped throwing money at these jobsworths


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