I wrote back in March last year regarding the Winsor report and how this might affect police officers remuneration and working conditions. This was always going to be a difficult subject and I am certainly not expecting the public to be queueing up supporting the police cause.
The Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) have now decided that the Government can go ahead and impose most of the changes to our pay and conditions. You can read the full PAT report here. The summary of decisions is on pages 44 and 45.
Without going into detail, the PAT decision confirms that police officers will receive no pay increase for at least two years. A number of allowances and overtime payments will disappear or be cut. In addition to this you need to understand that officers pension contributions are being increased by up to three and a half percent. At a time of high inflation and economical difficulty, police officers face an average pay cut of around 10%.
Historically police officers have not been financially motivated. The job was largely vocational and officers were happy to work hard and answer all the demands of the role secure in the knowledge that they were reasonably rewarded. This used to be the case in other public sector occupations such as health. Nurses were always the saints who had the time and motivation to take care of patients. Over the last 20 years this has changed. Public servants are often portrayed as expensive and inefficient. The bottom line of the private sector has been seen as the panacea to solve these inefficient organisations. Cleaning is contracted out. Auxiliary nurses were brought in to do the menial tasks that we were paying nurses too much to do. Targets and qualifications with rewards for achieving them were seen as the answer to the perceived inefficiency. Private sector management understand little regarding the service the public sector provides.
The same management has now infiltrated the police service. We have seen the introduction of PCSO's to replace 'expensive' police officers. But they cannot carry out many of the tasks that police officers on patrol are required to. We have a target driven culture (despite what the government say) with senior managers being rewarded for achieving them. The myriad of tasks we carry out that don't appear on the target list are neglected. The culture has seen policing becoming less of a vocation and more and more officers are now treating it as just a job. The problem with this has already compounded itself in nursing. A recent inquiry has come to the conclusion that many nurses lack the compassion and ability to do the job.
What has happened in health will manifest itself in the police service. The remuneration package the police will now receive combined with the target culture and attack on conditions, such as shift patterns and on call, will result in fewer capable people joining the police and a lack of care and compassion for the law abiding public we try to do our best for.
I am seriously concerned regarding the future of policing in this country.
The opinions and views expressed here are mine, and mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the Utopian Police Force nor the City of Utopia.
The stories I tell here are all true but my purpose is not technical accuracy. My purpose is to illustrate the nature of policing in an educational and entertaining way.
I have tried to respect the privacy of the citizens of the city and to relate specific facts without identifying individuals. I believe I succeed in this but if you do recognize yourself and believe others will too, please contact me and I shall rectify it.