So yesterday our revered Home Secretary, Theresa May, published her plans for the future of Police pay, and what wonderful plans they are.
If I understand it correctly the starting pay for a newly recruited Constable has been cut by £4,000 (or 17%) to £19,000 although PCCs and/or Chief Constables will have the discretion to add on regional payments of up to £3,000 on top, bringing the staring pay up to a maximum of £22,000.
Additionally the £1,000 ‘Grab a Grand’ Competence-Related Threshold payments are to be phased out, as expected, but it’s not all bad news, oh no, you will now get a £15 on-call allowance.
I missed it originally, but according to the Daily Mail, Theresa May’s Christmas Bonus includes this little-reported peach as well “Controversially, if officers work for the Met, but travel in from counties such as Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, they may not receive the full entitlement of ‘London weighting’ for the first time” (Click on text for full article)
Unlike some of our politicians, I don’t live in a bubble, I like to think that I live somewhere close to the real world. I have read the comments in the press, the Grauniad is a particularly fine source, and it’s fair to say that not all of the great British public are sympathetic with the police over their pay being shafted in such a cruel manner. Some are positively in favour of pay and allowances being cut. The main issues which seem to me to be at the root of this lack of sympathy are the obvious ones of Hillsborough, Plebgate etc etc re-quoted ad nauseum as valid reasons why the Police should not be better paid etc. These incidents will be investigated and hopefully wrong-doers will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
Let us be quite clear. I do not support or sympathise with any officer guilty of malpractice of any kind in these oft-quoted incidents, but they are NOT the majority. The vast majority are good, hard-working, honourable lads and lasses with great integrity.
Anyway, I did a little bit of research to put these latest pay cuts into perspective, and I do not claim that it was extensive research, but anyone who is friends with Mr Google can do the same, and I would be grateful for some info from the Fed or PCS/Unison.
I have no idea what the proposals are (if any) for the starting pay of PCSOs. Maybe someone can enlighten me, but a quick tour of the interweb reveals that their starting pay is not fixed, it varies from Force to Force. The figures for PCSO starting pay quoted in the PAT document are £16,551 to £21,780, the latter figure relating to the Met. There is not a huge difference between £16,551 and £19,000 when one considers the different levels of training and qualifications needed to join as a regular officer. And then it got a bit worse.
The Met’s own website contains the following information relating to THEIR PCSO salaries
The current annual pay for a PCSO working full time and shifts is:
Basic = £20,894
Shift allowance = £2,612 (12.5%) or £3,134 (15%) or £4,179 (20%)
Location allowance = £3,466 (Zone 1) or £1,883 (Zone 2).
On occasion, you may be required to work overtime. You will have the option of payment at time and a half or, where possible, time off in lieu.
Therefore a PCSO working a 20% shift pattern in Zone 1 (Central London) will start on £28,539.
The other issue that concerns me greatly is CORRUPTION.
I do not want to see our great service go back to the bad old days. I don’t care what anyone says, I do not believe that any Police Service, including the Met, is riddled with corruption, but it cannot be ignored. If the government continually chip away at officers’ take-home pay, decreased starting salaries, abolition of competency payments, increased pension contributions etc etc, then I can quite see how corruption might raise it’s ugly head once more.
And make no mistake, the days of your archetypal corrupt officer being the sweaty DS/DI with 25 yrs service and a fag hanging out of the corner of his mouth are gone, long gone. The profile of the ‘corrupt officer’ has shifted. Uniformed Constables with less than 5 years service, savvy in IT make up a large slice of a small pie. There are still not many corrupt officers, of that I am sure, but let’s not put in place a system that encourages more. I know Theresa May isn’t going to read this blog, and even if she did, she wouldn’t take a blind bit of notice of it because she’s too arrogant (allegedly) to take notice of a humble bloggist, she has highly paid advisers for that. Let us not forget, however, that in the background MPs are clamouring for a 32% pay RISE. We still haven’t forgiven them for their expenses scandal, and I’m not even convinced that has gone way yet.
I cannot get my head round the unspeakable arrogance of a government that can slash public services, not just the police, in the manner in which they are and then have the temerity to ask for a 32% increase in their own pay. They are public servants too are they not? Maybe they will be reminded of that at the next General Election. Police Officers have very long memories.
Rant over, carry on.