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Experienced Firearms Officer: Salaries to Be Reduced by up to £11,371

Posted on the 21 March 2012 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

I know I have already posted an anti-winsor blog today, but the information published on one of the many Police Federation websites relating to the potential reduction in salary following an injury on duty has chilled me to the bone.

Previously I had expected to risk a slight loss of earnings due to the pay freezes and pension contribution increases and the like, but reading this document produced by John Apter as shown the potential for far more significant losses (up to more than £11,000 in some cases) for the most specialised officers in our Police Forces. Especially those that put themselves in harm’s way and become injured as a result of doing their duty…

Have a read and tell me what you think… 

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The key recommendations (if implemented) from Winsor Part 2 that could affect you:

Recommendation 2 is an early clue as to the thrust of the report. It talks about a greater degree of harmonisation between police officer and police staff pay. Our staff colleagues work alongside us on a daily basis, but there is a difference between a warranted officer and a member of staff. Winsor chooses to ignore this difference which demonstrates his lack of understanding of policing.

Recommendation 3 talks about setting an entry qualification as a requirement for appointment to a police force and Recommendation 7 about promoting the police service through schools and universities. The thrust is that everyone will have to have A level 3 qualification – i.e. A Level Standard or a policing qualification to be considered for appointment which will effectively cut out great swathes of the community who for varying reasons won’t have the desired qualifications. The service prides itself on reflecting the communities it serves. The police are the public and the public are the police. This recommendation throws away this concept.

The only other method of entry would be by way of serving as a PCSO or Special Constable which they consider gives a candidate the desired experience.

Recommendations 8 and 19 suggest that direct entry schemes should be set up for the appointment of Inspectors and Superintendants. The credibility senior officers have is that they have walked in the shoes of a Constable, they know policing and they understand its complexities. These recommendations simply devalue the worth of policing experience and will no doubt lead to policing being even more delivered as a business rather than a public service.

Recommendations 23 to 26 will allow for a Chief Constable to be appointed from a police force outside of the United Kingdom – Another direct entry route!

Recommendation 30 allows for rank skipping so that an officer won’t have to serve in every rank as they progress through their career. Yet another attempt at bringing in a failed Sheehy proposal!

Recommendations 33 to 37 deal with the introduction of compulsory annual fitness tests for all officers. From 2018 these will be based on the Northern Ireland test which is apparently more physically demanding. Those officers who fail three tests will have a reduction in pay and face UPP. Although Mr Winsor goes on to say it will be misconduct, he clearly does not understand the difference!

Recommendation 39 deals with those officers who are on restricted duties. If an officer is on restricted duties for one year their pay will be reduced by £2,922 per annum or 8% of basic pay. If they then continue on restricted duties for another year proceedings should be commenced to either dismiss or ill-health retire them or offer a police staff role if one is available. No account is taken of whether their restriction was as a result of an injury on duty or indeed equality legislation relating to those officers with disabilities. This recommendation takes no account of the dangerous job that we do and the potential for any of us to be seriously injured doing that dangerous job. This is short-sighted and fails to offer any support to those who need it.

Recommendation 43 agrees with Lord Hutton’s recommendation that the normal retirement age for police officers should be set at 60.

Recommendations 46 and 47 will allow for a compulsory severance (redundancy) scheme for police officers. This raises an interesting point, if police officers can be made redundant then should they be afforded the same employments rights as other workers? Police officers did not join the service to take industrial action but when you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to lose!

Recommendations 53 to 74 deal with pay scales. The maximum basic pay for constables will remain at £36,519. The number of pay scales will be reduced from 10 to 7. Pay scales 6, 7 and 9 will be removed. On the face of it this may seem a good thing but the devil is in the detail.
Progression through each increment will be subject to completing a satisfactory PDR, not as of right as it is currently. This applies to all federated ranks. At pay point 4 Constables will also be required to pass a “Foundation Skills Threshold” test before progression. This test will also be subject to retests every 5 years. Any officer who fails this test will be subject to UPP.

Constable’s can only progress beyond pay point 6 (£31,032) if they have acquired specified specialist skills and have passed a “Specialist Skills Threshold” test within 12 months of appointment to a relevant role. They will also be required to sit further tests every three years where failure will result in an immediate drop of one pay scale (a loss of £5,487). It is important to note that if a role does not require warranted powers then an officer in that role will remain at pay point 6. Winsor has made it very clear that if a police officer is in a role which does not require warranted powers it is effectively a police staff role and so can never attract the “Specialist Skills Threshold”.

Officers who are currently at the top of their pay scale in such a role will have three years grace after which they will move down to pay point 6, effectively reducing their pay by £5,487. By way of example officers currently in a training role or in the control room would be subject to this reduction as their role does not routinely require warranted powers. You could then have a situation where this officer is or becomes restricted and after a further 12 months would be further reduced by £2,922, giving a total reduction of £8,409.

For ranks above Constable the accreditation of specialist skills should place special emphasis on skills which are needed in the management of people, resources, finance and financial planning. There should also be emphasis on leadership.

Recommendation 83 says that CRTP (Competence Related Threshold Payment) should be abolished by April 2013. You will see that although a previous independent arbitration panel agreed with the Police Federation that CRTP should remain, Winsor has had another go at it!

The story so far; you drop a pay scale (-£5,487), you then become restricted (-£2,922) and that’s after they have taken away your CRTP (-£1,212). A loss so far of £9,621.

Recommendation 94 introduces an interim Expertise and Professional Accreditation Allowance (EPAA). Police Officers in qualifying roles will be able to access a payment of £600 per annum paid monthly. The qualifying roles are neighborhood policing, public order, investigation and firearms.

Remember this is an interim allowance and will go in 2016. The only role that will then attract an allowance after 2016 will be public order but even this is subject to being deployed on at least six occasions in any one year. All of those officers who are currently public order trained will initially get the EPAA because it is not initially dependant on being deployed. However after 2016 when it becomes dependant on being deployed how many of you think that you will be deployed six times?

By way of another example firearms officer’s currently in receipt of an SPP (£750) would initially get the EPAA (a drop of £150) but after 2016 would get nothing. They will simply be paid at pay point 7 which Winsor considers to be a bonus in itself! Clearly Winsor does not appreciate the responsibility officers have when they voluntarily carry a firearm!

To conclude the story a firearms officer could be injured on duty and placed on restricted duties. They would then face a drop in salary to pay point 6 (£5,487) and a further drop because they are long-term restricted (£2,922). All this after already losing CRTP (£1,212) and SPP (£750). A potential total so far of £11,371. Some may say that this is a worse case scenario but just bear in mind that all of this may be out of your hands.

Recommendation 82 says that the force should identify the least effective 10% of performers by way of the PDR system and consider putting them all on UPP. There may not be any particular issues that would normally suggest UPP but because you fall into the bottom 10% you could find yourself subject to them. This is pushing policing into a performance culture which is dangerous.

Recommendation 105 says that consideration should be given to buying out sergeant’s overtime.

Recommendation 112 says that an on-call allowance of £15 should be paidafter an officer has completed 12 sessions of on-call for no payment. Although the arbitration panel advised that £15 was not enough Winsor has chosen to ignore them (yet again) and repeat his original recommendation. For many years, unlike our staff colleagues who receive £28 for each period of callout, police officers have performed call out on good will. This good will be now be replaced by the £15 call out allowance. After tax and after taking into account the disregarded 12 sessions you have already completed you will be performing call out for less than £1.15 per day! Call out is voluntary, you can not be ordered to perform it.

Winsor 2 has demonstrated many things, many unprintable things. Mr Winsor has opened a can of worms and is clearly doing what has been asked of him by a Government who claim to be the Government of Law & Order. The British police service is regarded as the best in the world, we adapt to change, we are flexible. Over the past 15 years we have modernised to the needs of the public. The accusation that we are the last unreformed public sector body is insulting and inaccurate.

The can of worms will be difficult to close. Mr Winsor and this Government need to be very careful what they wish for.


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