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 475.

    With so much money being spent and wasted by the government, they can't justify cutting police pay at this time. I do agree with a 19k starting wage i think that's fair for a trainee, but with the governments constant money waist can they justify cutting the police pay, they could have cut a lot more none essential expenditure first to try and achieve savings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    I doubt that many coal miners from the eighties will have much sympathy? See you on the other side of the picket lines fellas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    £19k is a good starting salary for those recruits straight out of school. I'd have been very happy to earn that amount. Those with more experience will get more and of course all of them progress up the salary ladder to a maximum of £36k, dependent on ability.

    All in all it's a decent remuneration for the lowest rank of the constabulary. I don't really see where the problem is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    Cutting pay is a start but it is as important to cut operating costs and prioritise activities within the trimmed budget. Should the police make financial provision for car chases where a pimped up white Polo is tracked by helicopter & a fleet of police cars often without discovering serious offences. Far better to prevent & detect violent crime against the person & house buglary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    So they only want the best qualified candidates, and then follow that up by saying starting salary of £19K. That will not attract the best candidates. After deductions, you will be lucky to walk away with between £12 - £13K a year. Who can afford to live on that, especially in London. Rent/mortgage will take that before you've even paid your bills, food, travelling etc. Cuckoo land!

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.

    If only we valued public servants as much as 'we' value bankers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    Start them on 12000 and (in the unlikely event) after 3 years if they haven't turned into useless, pompous, bullying thugs then put them up to the 19000

    I guarantee you that will save us a complete fortune!

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    I think I'd have more faith in the police if they didn't spend quite so much time 'patrolling' indoor shopping centres on rainy days, and hanging around food takeaways (I don't often see them anywhere else).

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    How convenient for Theresa May to accept the advice and lower starting salary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    Apparently the top earning 300,000 people in Britain are about to get on average a £10,000 a year tax cut.
    At £19,000 a year we could keep the 50% top rate of tax and have an extra 150,000 police on the streets.
    And they will be needed soon to control the plebs who are bearing the brunt of the cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    Once you have done that you control people with fear. The tories don't want democracy. They want to put us back where they think we belong - at their feet licking their boots and begging for crusts

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    How about tackling early retirement. Start with school teachers.

    Surely anyone who can walk and write their name is able to some sort of work ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    Policing, even in fair society, needs youth beside experience

    Profit from asymmetric austerity - cheaper younger police?

    But, even desperate, who to sign-up against 'our' created violence?

    Perhaps for 'more quickly to £36K' - like NHS - 'merely possible'?

    If not 'rewarded with redundancy', for box-ticking: like Winsor?

    Like govt, failing to tackle 'our' creation, more fear, greed, violence

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    Commenter 368 is a Pc of 20-odd years experience and his logic explains why he has never been promoted.
    He claims the pay cut will cost the Tories a million votes. No doubt he's a mason too.
    And 285, you may recall the English police stood by and did nothing when the rioters ran amok.
    The police in Northern Ireland are earning their money though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    This is a 'starting wage' by the way - I presume this will increase as the officers get more experience..

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    To clarify...Police officers pay their fair share of taxes too and in so doing, if you use the often used and misconcieved arguement, contribute handsomely to their own wages. In terms of pensions..which other position of employ commands contributions of 12.25%. Every time they go to work there is a chance they may not go home to their families. Why not renumerate them accordingly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    i think this is disgraceful.. the police risk their lives, go into the most darkest of places and make sacrifice's for people's safety for next to little or no money... government should pay more to encourage more people to join the force as crime is on the increase, not steer them away from joining..

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    This govement, and the previous one, have shafted the police force, and they are disgraceful, Stealing pension money from them, dropping their numbers, appointing useless crime commissioners, now we know where their pay comes from. Home secs who are liars, And Mps who want massive pay rises, whilst reducing everyone else,s pay, wake up and smell the coffee officers ,refuse to work overtime

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    How many more stories am I going to read before we all go out on the street and have a full scale revolution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    If (or when)? this parliament vote's a rise in for themselves and the people do nothing,then we deserve what we get


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