This statement is about police pay and conditions. It provides the Government’s response to the police arbitration tribunal’s findings on the recommendations in the final report of Tom Winsor’s independent review of police officer and staff remuneration and conditions.
On 27 March last year I laid a statement to respond to Tom Winsor’s final report of the review of remuneration and conditions police officers and staff, in which I announced that I was directing the Police Negotiating Board to consider proposals relating to pay for police officers in England and Wales as a matter of urgency.
The Police Negotiating Board did not reach agreement on some important proposals in the final report, and these were referred to the police arbitration tribunal. The tribunal has now provided its recommendation and reasons, which I received on 6 December. The tribunal considered eight recommendations from the Winsor final report. The tribunal accepted one recommendation in its entirety, accepted three proposals with modifications and did not approve one other. The tribunal recommended that three related recommendations around compulsory severance should be the subject of further discussions in the Police Negotiating Board. I have today placed a copy of the police arbitration tribunal report in the House of Commons Library.
I am grateful to the tribunal for its careful consideration of these important issues. I have now considered the tribunal’s report thoroughly and I have decided to accept its recommendation and I am minded to implement the package of reforms it has put forward.
These reforms build on the changes we implemented following part 1 of the review, which I announced in a statement on 30 January last year. They continue our programme to modernise police pay and conditions so that they are fair to both officers and the taxpayer. They include measures to retarget pay to reward contribution, increase local flexibility and make important structural changes to enable further reform.
The tribunal deferred proposals around compulsory severance for further negotiations. These will be considered alongside other longer-term proposals I have asked the Police Negotiating Board to consider by July 2013.
We remain committed to the review’s principles and objectives, in particular to modernising management practices and to developing the vital link between pay and professional skills. The development of the skills agenda is an essential part of both modernising pay and conditions and of our wider programme of police reform and developing professionalism. This is something that the College of Policing will take forward in the context of the time scales recommended in the Winsor review.
Existing police pay and conditions were designed more than 30 years ago which is why we asked Tom Winsor to carry out his independent review. Police officers and staff deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe, and enable them to deliver effectively for the public and these reforms support the objectives I set out in the review’s terms of reference to:
use remuneration and conditions of service to maximise officer and staff deployment to front-line roles where their powers and skills are required;
provide remuneration and conditions of service that are fair to and reasonable for both the public taxpayer and police officers and staff;
enable modern management practices in line with practices elsewhere in the public sector and the wider economy.
In reaching this decision, I have had regard to a number of vital considerations, including:
the review’s three key objectives as set out above;
the tough economic conditions and the Government’s wider economic objectives, which include reduction of the deficit and the challenging but manageable reduction in Government funding to the police over the spending review period;
the need to maintain and improve the service provided to the public, taking account of a strong desire from the public to see more police officers and operational staff out on the front line of local policing and also recognising that there are less visible front-line roles that require policing powers and skills in order to protect the public;
the particular front-line role and nature of the Office of Constable, including the lack of a right to strike;
the Government’s wider objectives for police reform, including developing professionalism in the police and the creation of the College of Policing, the introduction of police and crime commissioners, the reduction of police bureaucracy and collaboration between police forces and with other public services;
the Government’s wider policy of pay and pensions in the pubic sector, and its proposals on long-term pensions and reform of the police;
the review’s analysis of the value of officer’s remuneration and conditions, as compared to other workforces;
parallel work by the police to improve value for money, including collaboration with the private sector;
the impact of the recommendations on equality and diversity.
The Government’s reform programme is working: crime is falling and public confidence is high. It is imperative that the police are able to benefit from these further reforms as soon as possible, and I will therefore immediately begin the process of amending the police regulations and determinations to implement the tribunal’s recommendation, including making any necessary consequential and ancillary changes.