A truly dishonourable move by the Home Secretary, a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer exposes the absolute contempt held for policing by the Home Office and this government. The letter which on the surface appears to ratify the pay arbitration finding, goes on to deliver the final blow to police officers by asking the Chancellor to support her in a decision that will not only pay police a lower than inflation award but effectively cut police officers pay for 2007.
Jan Berry, Chairman, Police Federation of England and Wales:
"This is contemptuous behaviour by the Home Secretary, and has rightly angered the 140,000 police officers in England and Wales who have been waiting patiently for their pay award since 1st September. This is a cheap shot by a Home Office, not fit for purpose, seeking to remedy their own financial mismanagement by penalising police officers to the tune of £30.5 million; money that is rightly theirs, money they've worked hard for. There are a number of officers who are now saying we should have the right to take industrial action. In the light of this letter we are calling an emergency meeting of national and local Police Federation leaders in London next week. Police officers should either have full industrial rights or independent binding arbitration; currently we have neither. "
In the letter the Home Secretary requests the Chancellor supports her decision to not back-pay police wages to September which means the under inflation determination made by the arbiters of 2.5% effectively becomes 1.9% - a lower award than any other emergency service or public sector body in England and Wales, and for the one group of workers that cannot take industrial action.
UPDATE: Scotland’s Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has announced that he will implement the police pay deal in full, adding to pressure on Jacqui Smith to do the same. Kenny MacAskill said: "All I'm saying is that we believe when you enter into an arbitration scheme, if it comes out with something then unless there's good reason you should implement it."
Not a good day for Jacqui, especially if her Bill for extending the 28 day detention limit to 42 days is rejected.