Here we attempt to answer many of the common questions to do with police pay.
To help us we enlisted the services of Board member Joanna Young. Joanna joined the Met police in 1984 and spent her last 4 years of service as the elected full-time London Secretary for the Superintendents’ Association, a member of the Association’s National Executive Committee, lead for HR, leadership and diversity, and deputy for Police Negotiating Board.
Joanna: Police pay for England and Wales is decided by the Government. Previously the process was through the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) where an independent Chair helped ‘Staff side’ and ‘the Official side’ reach agreements over pay and conditions.
All of this changed in 2014 following Sir Tom Winsor’s review of Policing and The Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) was set up in September 2014 to make recommendations to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary on police pay. September 2015 saw the first decision on police pay under the new system and this is now the second year.
Joanna: In November 2015, Home Secretary Theresa May wrote to the Chair of the PRRB, David Lebrecht, setting out the ‘Remit’ for the PRRB in considering the 2016 pay award. She wrote:
‘In considering the appropriate level of pay for police officers I would ask you to have regard to:
- The need to ensure that the proposals reflect the Government’s policy on public sector pay as outlined in the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s letter – in particular, that there will be funding for pay awards up to an average of 1% a year, with the expectation that these will be applied in a targeted manner;
- The Government’s continued commitment to maximising flexibility for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners to manage their workforce in the most efficient way possible at a local level;
- The role and nature of the office of constable in British policing;
- The prohibition on police officers being members of a trade union or withdrawing their labour;
- The need to recruit, promote, retain and motivate suitably able and qualified officers that reflect the communities they serve;
- The affordability of any recommendations, particularly in light of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review; and
- The work of the College of Policing and chief constables in taking forward recommendations from the Review of Police Leadership.’
In short, The Home Secretary wanted recommendations on police pay within a 1% budget. However she wanted the PRRB to consider targeting an average of a 1% increase to roles that were most in demand and support the delivery of public services. She also wanted a review of and recommendations on the London and South East Allowances, overtime rates for Bank holidays, the Motor Vehicle Allowance and the Away from home allowance.
Joanna: To make their recommendations the PRRB receive written submissions from interested parties such as the Police Federation, Superintendents’ Association, Chief Officers and PCCs. They also receive evidence from these bodies at meetings where the PRRB is able to question the submissions. The ‘evidence’ from each party sets out why they think a particular award should be made. The PFEW and PSAEW support a 1% pay increase for all ranks rather than more/less to a particular role or rank. Submissions must be supported by analysis and survey results.
Joanna: Pay is no longer ‘negotiated’. Evidence, as described above, is submitted for consideration by the PRRB. There is no going back and forth as there used to be under the old PNB system. Pay for Federated and Superintending ranks are dealt with via the PRRB, while Chief Officer’s pay is considered by a separate Senior Pay Review Body.
Joanna: The last Police officer pay award was decided on 16th July 2016. Theresa May accepted the recommendations of the PRRB which were as follows:
- A one per cent increase to base pay for all ranks from 1 September 2016.
- A one per cent increase to the Dog Handlers Allowance from 1 September 2016.
- A one per cent increase to the London Weighting payment from 1 September 2016.
The pay increases were implemented in the September 2016 pay and included the back pay for the London weighting increase for July and August. Please note, the PRRB suggested re-setting the effective date for London weighting increases from 1 July to 1 September 2015 to align with other allowances for future pay reviews.
Joanna: Here is a brief summary of all MPS pay ranges.
|MPS Pay Ranges **|
|Constables||£19,773 – £38,001|
|Sergeants||£39,300 – £42,708|
|Inspectors||£50,823 – £54,963|
|Chief Inspectors||£56,040 – £59,160|
|Superintendents||£64,830 – £76,57|
|Chief Superintendents||£80,352 – £84,765|
|Commanders||£97,563 – £110,148|
|Deputy Assistant Commissioner||£144,768|
Joanna: Met pay currently has different allowances to compensate for working in London where costs are higher and the average wage is higher. What allowances a Met Officer will receive will depend on when they joined the Police.
All MPS officers currently receive London Weighting and London Allowance on top of national police pay scales. This currently stands at £2,373 per annum pensionable London Weighting, and £1,011 per annum non-pensionable London Allowance – so a total of £3,360 per year.
Officers longer in service may also receive a rent or housing allowance up to a maximum of £5,126.70 per annum if in receipt of housing allowance and if in receipt of transitional rent allowance £5,863.65 per annum. Officers who join the MPS who are not entitled to rent or housing allowance do however qualify for an additional (non-pensionable) London Allowance of £3,327 per annum.
Some South East forces have a ‘South East Allowance’ of between £2,000 and £3,000.
Joanna: That’s a difficult question to answer. Most Police pay in London is above the London average, however it is a highly responsible job, sometimes dangerous, and involves shift work which can impact on quality of life. 8% of police pay is an ‘x factor’, that is to say the ‘compensation’ for the factors such as shifts etc.
Joanna: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has already issued their remit letter to the PRRB (July 2017) and highlights the following:
- The financial situation remains very challenging following the outcome of the EU referendum
- They will fund public sector workers for an average of a 1% increase per annum up to 2019/20
- Reaffirms that it should be targeted pay award for an average as 1% rather than a blanket 1% uplift.
So whilst there is some stability in that we know it will be a 1% pay award it might not be applied to all in 2017, with some potentially receiving less and others more.
Joanna: Remember, the police pension is still good and officers can still take a pension at a lower age than any other public sector worker (55 years, but reduced). Also, at present Officers can’t be made redundant – although they can be offered voluntary exit (a form of redundancy).