Pay progression freeze for police officers upheld by Police Arbitration Tribunal

UPDATE 30 JANUARY 2012 The Home Secretary has confirmed that she will accept the Police Arbitration Tribunal’s findings in full.

A two-year freeze on pay progression for most police officers in England and Wales should go ahead by April 2012, finds the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT), whose decision on the Winsor recommendations (external website) was published today (9 January 2012).

The PAT was asked to make an award on 18 recommendations of the Winsor review of police pay and conditions on which the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) was unable to reach agreement. Winsor had proposed a two-year freeze on incremental progression, and the official side of the PNB had agreed to make an exception for new officers at the bottom of the pay scale. Although the PAT took the view that the first three points on the constable’s scale should be excluded from the suspension, it said all other progression on the police officers’ pay scales should be frozen as proposed.

The PAT award modifies five of the recommendations, including that on casual overtime. Winsor had recommended that the rate for casual overtime should be reduced from time and one-third to plain time, and the minimum hours for being recalled should be abolished and replaced with payment for the hours worked. The PAT accepted that the minimum hours should be abolished, but said that the premium rate for the hours worked should not be reduced. The tribunal also believes the recommendation to abolish competence-related threshold payments should be modified so that those already in receipt of the payment would retain it, with a two-year freeze on new applications. Overall, the PAT approved 10 of the recommendations. It did not make an award on a further three, which it felt would be more appropriately dealt with by the second part of the Winsor review, which is looking into long-term pay structures for the police and is due to be published later this month.

Responding to the decision, Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said:

 ”We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the Police Arbitration Tribunal and know that many police officers across England and Wales will be angry and dismayed about their future. However, we entered in to the negotiation process in good faith and therefore, whilst not happy with the entire decision, accept their ruling. . .  Moving forward, we will do everything in our power at the Police Negotiating Board to minimise the negative impact today’s decision could have on police officers.”

Although the award of the PAT stands as an agreement made in the PNB, the final decision on whether or not to accept its findings lies with the home secretary.

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