Leading Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, has taken her demand for action to the very top of government.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Dame Vera has demanded that extra funding be made available to Northumbria Police for the 2% pay rise announced by government for police officers.
The Government recently announced a lifting of the pay cap for police officers – but no cash to pay for it.
Northumbria Police has received the biggest cut in government grant out of all police forces in England and Wales since 2010 – a reduction of £123 million from its revenue budget. This has lost Northumbria over 900 police officers and 923 police staff and PCSOs. The National Audit Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have both made clear that Northumbria Police has been hit hardest of all England and Wales police forces through these financial cuts.
Northumbria Police has budgeted for a 1% pay award across the board, to increase this by an extra 1% will cost £1.55 million – equal to 31 police officers and £0.5m for police staff and PCSOs – equal to a further 10 police officers.
Dame Vera said: “Let me be absolutely clear, our hardworking officers and staff fully deserve a pay rise and I want to see this happen. The Government now needs to fund it. Police officers have told me they would rather decline a pay rise than lose further police officers. Cutting more officers is a very likely outcome, a ridiculous position which shouldn’t even be a consideration. In my letter I have set out the perilous financial position Northumbria Police has been put into by government cuts which, whatever they say, are continuing to this day. They speak about reserves deposited in police force bank accounts but we have tiny reserves- because we have had to play them in to manage these huge cuts.
“I have set out the financial position and asked Amber Rudd how she suggests the force pays for a rise. We strongly suggest that she must pay for it.”