‘We have no confidence in the current home secretary,’ says rank-and-file officers’ body
The Police Federation of England and Wales says it no longer has confidence in the home secretary after branding a bitterly-opposed pay freeze for officers as “the final straw”.
Priti Patel has confirmed that police officers earning more than £24,000 would be hit by the freeze, while those earning less will be given an annual rise of £250.
Responding to the announcement, the Police Federation said an extraordinary meeting of its National Council had “overwhelmingly supported” a vote of no confidence in Ms Patel on Thursday.
The body’s national chairman John Apter said: “As the organisation that represents more than 130,000 police officers I can say quite categorically – we have no confidence in the current home secretary. I cannot look my colleagues in the eye and do nothing.”
The unprecedented no-confidence vote – never taken before by the Police Federation – also sees the body withdraw all support for the government’s pay review group.
The organisation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said it would no longer co-operate with the Police Remuneration Review Body, describing the current system for deciding on pay as “not fit for purpose”.
Labour said the no-confidence motion was a “devastating blow” for the “hapless” home secretary.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, said: “The truth is, Priti Patel has badly let down police officers, who have served our country so bravely throughout this pandemic.”
The MP added: “A zero percent pay offer is completely unacceptable – it is a real terms pay cut, exposing the hypocrisy of a Conservative government that gives warm words of praise to the police and refuses to back it up with action.
“This has driven the Police Federation to take the extraordinary step of declaring no confidence in the home secretary – which is a view Labour fully supports.”
Mr Apter said members were “so angry” with this government over the pay freeze. “They have been on the frontline of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see other public services given pay increases while they receive nothing.”
He added: “At the beginning of this pandemic they endured PPE shortages and were not even prioritised for the vaccination. They continue to be politicised and this pay announcement is the final straw.”
Announcing the pay freeze in a written ministerial statement on Wednesday, Ms Patel said: “This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth.
The home secretary claimed the private sector “was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic … whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects”.