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Police Officer Pay

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

On 16 November 2006, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing announced a review of police pay arrangements led by Sir Clive Booth. The first part of Sir Clive Booth’s review looked at the arrangements for determining police officer pay in 2007. The second part considered the effectiveness of the current police pay machinery.

On 21 February this year my right hon. Friend published Sir Clive Booth’s report on part one of his review. His report “Fair Pay for Police Officers” contained recommendations for determining police officer pay for 2007, including that the police officer pay award for 2007 should be based on a new public sector-facing index. My right hon. Friend made clear in publishing Sir Clive Booth’s report that the method for determining police officer pay for 2007 would then be progressed through the Police Negotiating Board, before the Home Secretary took the final decision.

The Police Negotiating Board have considered the recommendations in Sir Clive Booth’s report and the police officer pay award for 2007. Unfortunately the board was not able to reach agreement and the matter was therefore considered by the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT). I received the Police Arbitration Tribunal’s recommendation for the police officer 2007 pay award on 29 November 2007.

The PAT recommendation was:

To increase the pay of all ranks of police officers covered by the three Standing Committees of the PNB by 2.5 per cent. with effect from 1 September 2007.

I have considered this recommendation very carefully. In doing so I have taken account of the tribunal’s findings and reasoning, the need to ensure value for money and the best use of resources, affordability and Government policy on public sector pay.

The tribunal’s recommendation for a 2.5 per cent. increase is based on a new index expanding that proposed by Sir Clive Booth. Having fully considered the PAT findings I accept the recommendation of the tribunal for an award of 2.5 per cent. However I have given very serious consideration to the implementation of this award and concluded that in the interests of affordability, and Government policy on public sector pay, the implementation of this award should be staged. This year’s police officer pay award will therefore be 2.5 per cent. with effect from 1 December 2007. Staging will mean that around £40 million extra will be available in 2007-08 to invest in the provision of policing services to the public.

The index suggested by the PAT for the 2007 award could inform discussion and negotiation of the police officer pay award for next year. However, I will continue to give careful consideration to any proposals from the police pay machinery on next year’s pay award. This consideration will include how any such award can make the best use of resources, affordability, the need to ensure consistency with Government policy on public sector pay and that the needs of the service and of the taxpayer and public are best served.

Sir Clive Booth has now provided his report on part two of his review “Determining Pay in the Police Service”.

I am grateful to Sir Clive Booth for undertaking the review. He has undertaken a wide-ranging consultation with interested parties including the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, the Superintendents’ Association, the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association, Unison and others. In his report on part two of his review, Sir Clive Booth recommends that: (i) a pay review body for police officers should be created; (ii) the pay of police officers and police staff should continue to be determined by separate mechanisms; (iii) the existing Police Staff Council machinery should be retained for the time being; and (iv) that chief officers are covered by the proposed pay review body for police officers, but if that is not created chief officers should become one of the groups covered by the Senior Salaries Review Body.

The Government welcomes Sir Clive Booth’s report and accepts that a pay review body for police officers, including chief officers, should be created, the pay of police officers and police staff should continue to be determined separately and that the Police Staff Council should be retained. We note that in due course unified officer and staff pay machinery may be considered, in particular as police workforce developments are progressed, but do not think that this is a practical proposition for the time being.

The Government will consult, in the near future, on proposals for implementing the necessary changes to the police pay machinery.

I have today placed a copy of Sir Clive Booth’s report in the Library of the House.