The Association of Police Authorities (APA) has warned the government that it must “strike the right balance” during a forthcoming review of police pay.
The review was ordered by home secretary John Reid and could signal an end to annual increases and spark confrontation with rank and file officers.
Pay accounts for at least 75% of policing costs, with a substantial amount paid by central government.
Pay for chief constables and other top ranks could also be taken out of pay negotiations, coming instead under the senior salaries review body.
Association of Police Authorities chairman Bob Jones said: “Police officers do a demanding and difficult job and should be recompensed accordingly.
“In determining pay, we have to strike the right balance between recognising the contribution and sacrifices that police officers make, while ensuring that the overall police paybill is affordable and sustainable in terms of the policing service we provide to communities.”
The Association of Police Authorities also expressed concerns about using a review body to determine senior officers’ pay. It said that “may lead to greater divergence in the way in which we reward our workforce”.
The review will be carried out by Sir Clive Booth, head of Centrex, the central police training body.