I am in correspondence with the Police Federation about police pay. I have explained to the federation that, as a result of staging public sector pay awards, it was not possible to pay in full the police pay award over the past year. However, I look forward to discussing with the Police Federation a long-term pay deal, which is based on the arbitration award.
The Prime Minister knows that, this time last week, almost a sixth of the entire police force of England and Wales marched through the streets of Westminster. May I take what he has just said as an assurance that future awards will be made not on an annual but a longer-term basis, and that they will recognise that, every day, police officers put their lives at risk to protect him, us and the rest of the country in the fight against organised crime and terrorism?
I not only have great admiration for the police, but, as I said before, we wanted to pay them more. A national policy to cut inflation meant that every national public sector pay award in which the Government had a role to play was staged over the past year. That is one of the reasons that inflation was brought down. However, I said to the Police Federation in my letter to Jan Berry that I hope that the police will enter into a long-term agreement on pay, based on implementing future years’ arbitration awards. The Home Secretary has asked the police negotiating board to consider a multi-year deal. Teachers have already agreed a three-year deal, and the process of agreement will start when the police negotiating board meets on 6 February. I hope that we can make progress.