Priti Patel sparked anger today when she defended the decision to freeze police pay in a pre-recorded video message after not attending a senior officers conference in person.
The Home Secretary has told the Superintendents’ Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-Upon-Avon that the government “cannot justify” higher salaries.
Ms Patel would normally be expected to attend the conference, as she did in 2019, although she spoke virtually last year for Covid reasons. It is believed that she was personally invited this year.
PSA President Paul Griffiths told delegates: “It is disappointing that the Secretary of the Interior is not available to attend our conference in person.”
Meanwhile, police federation chairman John Apter tweeted: “At the @policesupers conference he learned that the Home Secretary is not in person now.
“In addition, the meeting I had with the Minister of the Interior later this week has also been cancelled. It seems that involvement with the organizations representing police officers is not a priority!’
A conference participant said Ms. Patel’s comment on the pre-recorded video that she was “delighted” to attend the conference was greeted with laughter
Home Secretary addresses Superintendents’ Conference at Crowne Plaza in Stratford-Upon-Avon with pre-recorded video
A conference attendee said Ms. Patel’s comment that she was “delighted” to attend the conference was greeted with laughter
It came when event organizers, the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA), announced it was withdrawing from the independent system that sets their salaries after widespread outcry over a wage freeze.
The PSA joins the police federation – which represents other ranks – in leaving the trial after a bitter row over the government’s decision to freeze wages for officers earning more than £24,000.
By contrast, NHS staff will receive a 3% increase and firefighters and local government employees a 1.5% increase.
Today, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick defied ministers by backing union calls for higher wages, saying: ‘I do believe the police deserve a raise and a fair system for calculating it.’
Mr Griffiths would normally give his annual conference address to Ms Patel in person, but this year she will give a recorded speech instead.
In the video, she said: “The pandemic has widened inequalities between public and private sector wages – many private sector workers lost their jobs or saw their wages plummet.
This meant that the chancellor could not justify a general pay increase for public sector workers.
He sought advice from the pay review bodies and suggested increasing wages in the NHS but pausing wage increases elsewhere to protect jobs.
“This pandemic is something we have never experienced before – a truly seismic event that has affected many sectors and employers across the economy.
“It meant even harder choices than usual. None of us wanted to be in this situation.”
PSA President Paul Griffiths would normally deliver his annual conference address to Ms. Patel in person, but this year she will give a recorded speech instead.
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the salary review system needs an urgent overhaul.
He added: “Now that the Association of Police Commissioners has joined the Police Federation and is withdrawing from the wage control body, the Home Secretary must urgently consider how it can be reformed so that the police have confidence in a system that works for them.” .’
Currently, the Independent Police Compensation Review Body (PRRB) is gathering information from various groups, including officers and the Department of the Interior, before making recommendations on wage levels that the government should set.
Today Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick supported union calls for higher wages, saying: ‘I do believe the police deserve a raise and a fair system of calculating it’
The Police Federation, which represents more than 130,000 officers from constable to superintendent, withdrew from the system in July, with chairman John Apter calling it “inherently unfair.”
Mr Griffiths will tell delegates at the annual PSA conference, “No one goes to the police to get rich. It is a calling and a career that offers challenge and sacrifice like no other – something that was clearly demonstrated during the pandemic.
“But with very few labor rights, it is essential that police officers have fair and transparent processes for setting their wages, and that they have a clear voice in it.
“The government directive on the payment of public services has set these processes aside and made payment decisions ahead of the evidence it asks from stakeholders across the service.
“Currently we have no procedural justice when it comes to paying and police officers are not heard.
“For this reason, I can today announce that the Association of Police Commissioners is withdrawing from the PRRB process.”
The announcement of the pay freeze sparked anger, with the police federation issuing a no-confidence vote against Home Secretary Priti Patel over pay, and National Police Chiefs’ Council Chairman Martin Hewitt writing to her to stress that officers “deserve better.” ‘.