PFEW calls for minimum 17% pay rise for members

10 Mar, 2023

9 March 2023

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has called for a 17 per cent pay increase for police officers after an independent study by a leading non-partisan think tank showed a landslide decline in police pay since 2000.

The independent research by Social Market Foundation (SMF) revealed real terms police pay has fallen almost 20 per cent behind inflation between 2000 and 2022.

This makes the police an outlier among protective services workers; public sector workers; and all workers. The report found all these groups saw their pay rise in real terms over this period – by 1 per cent, 14 per cent, and 5 per cent respectively.

Unsurprisingly, in these 22 years, the salaries of MPs rose from £48,371 to £84,144 and that of other public sector workers went up by between 1 and 14 per cent in real terms.

The independent report, released in the public domain today, exposes the decline in police pay, likely to be linked to the restrictions on police officers’ right to strike, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage to all other workers including other emergency service workers.

The SMF report also demonstrated police constable starting salaries have lagged behind earnings as a whole across the economy by a considerable amount.

SMF’s study has calculated that if these real-terms trends continued over the next five years, police pay would drop a further 4 per cent in real-terms by 2027, in stark comparison to private and public sector worker pay which is set to rise over the same period.

A key factor in discussions of police pay is the “P-factor”, which the SMF research suggests should be a figure offered in addition to their findings. The report references the P-factor as an element of police pay that reflects the unique obligations and responsibilities police officers’ experience relative to other comparable roles. This includes their unique risk of exposure to physical and psychological harm, alongside the restrictions that are placed upon their private lives.

The P-factor payment does not feature in the report highlighting that the actual figure of degradation of police pay is significantly higher. 

National Chair Steve Hartshorn labelled the research a “wakeup call for policymakers in the UK”.

“For a long time now, the Police Federation of England and Wales has been working to achieve better pay and working conditions for our members. Police officers put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect their communities.

“That is why today our National Council has taken the decision to call for a minimum pay increase of 17 per cent for our officers.

“The Government can no longer sit by and ignore our members’ basic needs and must recognise the impact of this independent research. In the context of ongoing inflation, indications of a police retention crisis, and reports of officers being forced to turn to food banks, the issue of police pay must be addressed now after more than a decade of being ignored.

“Police officers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that begins with better pay. Pay that not only reflects the cost-of-living crisis that many of us face but puts right the 17 per cent decline since 2000 and compensates officers for the dangers they’re exposed to as part of the job. They must be compensated fairly for doing a job that is so important and unique that they do not have access to industrial rights,” he said.

You can read more about the Social Market Foundation (SMF) research here.

Top points of SMF’s research:

  • Police officers’ pay in the UK has declined by 17 per cent in real terms since 2000.
  • Police pay has risen at barely half the rate of an average UK employee across the same period.
  • Police pay is an outlier amongst other protective services workers and the public sector, likely being negatively impacted due to police officer’s inability to strike or have access to any form of industrial rights.
  • Police pay fell by 17 per cent in real terms between 2000 and 2022, while other comparator groups of protective services workers and public sector workers saw their pay rise by between 1-14 per cent.