Watch your backs, you are about to get shafted!
Well, the long awaited report is out and I have been disturbed to read that some of my colleagues think it is OK. This Government has been working the media like a puppet and putting out the most outrageously false and malicious examples of police pay and allowances to gain public and media support. Officers should not be duped by this. The media have concentrated on the financial stuff and it is true that officers might have been even worse off financially, but 40% of officers will lose around £3000, or more, a year and ALL officers will be worse off taking account of the recommended cuts, a two year pay freeze, increased pension contributions and inflation. On top of this, the pension review is yet to come and it is looking more and more likely that as well as a 3% increase in pension contributions, the benefits will be considerably reduced. There is talk of pensions being paid on the average of your whole career rather than final salary and that you may not be able to actually get your pension until aged 65.
The most worrying of the Winsor recommendations do not involve salary or allowances, but will effect officers futures dramatically. These include redundancy, expansion of Pension Regulation A19, on call and changes to shifts. I have summarised some of the key recommendations below with my personal notes on how this may effect officers in the future. Believe me we are being shafted!
Recommendation 2. Officers working between 2000 and 0600 will receive an extra 10% on pay only for those hours. (This extra pay is not pensionable. This is less than CRTP which is pensionable. Therefore less pension.)
5. The Chief Constable should only have to consult the Police Federation on shift patterns and not have to obtain agreement as they do now. (This would effectively mean Chief Officers would be able to impose any shift pattern they wish.)
6. Overtime currently incurred on a normal shift and currently paid at time and a third to be paid at flat rate. No minimum four hours, just the time you work and travelling time. (So, if you are on call and have to take a call to give firearms advice etc. You get paid 30 minutes? More about on call later.)
7. Overtime paid for rest days less than 15 all to be paid at time and a half. No double time for less than 5.
8. Officers to be paid double time for Christmas Day and seven other days of their choice. ( So no automatic payment for all Bank Holidays. This is a reduction as some years there are 11 Bank Holidays.)
11. Mutual Aid, officers to be paid only for time worked and travelling time.
12. Officers retained overnight on mutual aid etc. have to be provided with a single room and en suite. If not, they can claim £30 overnight allowance. (This is a huge change to the Hertfordshire agreement, where officers were paid 8 hours for sub standard accommodation.)
13. Officers held on reserve to be paid an on call allowance of £15. (So you hang around all day waiting for a call to go to work and all the restrictions that means for £15?)
15. No appeal to the Secretary of State for officers with business interests. (This may cause difficulties as more and more officers seek second jobs to pay the bills.)
25. Chief Officer bonus scheme to be suspended for two years. (Just so you know they are suffering too, but their £100K plus should see them through.)
26. Chief Superintendents to continue to receive posting allowance taking account of responsibilities.
27. Superintendents bonus scheme suspended for two years.
28. Higher basic pay for Metropolitan Inspectors and Chief Inspectors to be retained in the short term. (So I guess after the Olympics, don't be surprised if you are reduced to the country bumpkin levels of pay.)
29. CRTP abolished as of 31 August 2011. (This was an additional pensionable allowance for those at the top of their pay scale.) Also, there are to be no incremental pay rises for two years. (So, a two year pay freeze and no increments or CRTP to help out.
31. Team Awards of between £50 and £100 p.a. for good work.
32. ACPO and the Police Federation to establish a working group to establish a series of new National Policing Awards. (Sounds like one of these American style bashes where we all try and big each other up and forget the real world of unpaid bills.
33. Abolish SPP's as of 31st August 2011. (For some officers in my Force this means a loss of £6800!)
34. Introduce an interim Expertise and Professional Accreditation reward of £1200 per annum. (The examples in the report show it being paid to Neighbourhood Officers, Accredited detectives and PSU officers. It partly compensates some for loss of SPP but is also clearly designed as the start of a plan of pay differentials between officers performing different functions. If you move to another function you lose it and it is not pensionable.)
42. Regional Allowances to remain in the short term. (Again, I strongly suspect that after the Olympics this will be reviewed.)
43. The replacement to housing allowance will be frozen as of 31 August 2011. (Inflation will erode this allowance and again reduce officers standard of living.)
44. A national on call allowance to be introduced of £15 per day, after the officer has completed 12 days of on call. (This has major implications. At present, on call is voluntary. The introduction of the allowance may make it mandatory for all officers. It appears that you will have to do 12 days of on call for nothing each year and then only get paid from the 13th. The payment is derisory for the inconvenience of being held in reserve for a day or being woken up at 0400.)
48. Maternity pay will increase from 13 to 18 weeks. (Good, but this just puts us in line with other organisations.)
52-54 All relate to unsatisfactory performance and the suggestion that there should be a cross border cadre of ACC level experts to deal with UPP. (This tells you that the organisation wants to get a lot tougher and more professional on UPP so that they can deal more effectively with it.)
57. Expand the use of Pension Regulation A19 so that it can be used for service critical skills and performance. ( This is very worrying and would effectively mean that once you reach pensionable service you can be dispensed with for almost any reason.)
58. As soon as possible, voluntary exit terms for police officers should be implemented as per the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. (Buried almost at the rear of the report is this huge change to police officers status as officers of the crown. If implemented, this recommendation will mean that officers can be made redundant. In an organisation that Chief Officers reorganise every five minutes this is a huge risk to officers. You find your department amalgamated or moved and instead of a move to another station you could be facing redundancy.)
Sorry this is quite long, but I think it is worth airing. You can see the full report if you follow this link.
My condolences to all fellow officers, but this is going to be a difficult few years and everyone is going to have to tighten their belts. I only hope that the Police Federation can negate some of these recommendations and do their utmost to ensure officers standards of living are maintained. When the Fed ask for action, officers must support them.