Police HR chief issues warning to Home Office over perils of ignoring police pay demands


A police force HR director has warned the Home Office to solve the ongoing pay dispute before launching into a radical reform of the service.

Andrew Marston, force personnel director at Greater Manchester Police, has backed today’s Flanagan Report, which called for more civilian roles to be developed to carry out everyday police tasks, in a bid to free up officer time.

However, until the current pay battle between the Police Federation and home secretary Jacqui Smith is sorted, Marston has little hope the government will get the motivation from police that any changes would require.

He told Personnel Today: “It absolutely makes it harder to try to manage resources more effectively as police are locked in this pay dispute. It’s time for the Home Office to solve this problem.

“The home secretary was very badly advised – she could have solved this much earlier. She totally misjudged the mood of the service.”

Marston said he had worked in policing for 16 years and the current pay dispute was the “most angry” he had ever seen.

“It isn’t about the money,” he said. “The money is chicken feed. Police officers believe they’ve been lied to. It’s about trust at the end of the day. This is getting in the way of managing resources better.”

Just days ago, prime minister Gordon Brown wrote to Police Federation chair Jan Berry to reiterate that he fully supports Smith’s decision on pay – signalling that he will not budge on the decision not to backdate pay to September 2007.

Yet Marston warned that while the government might like to think that it has moved on from the pay dispute, officers do not work like that. “Officers are very persistent,” he said.

A statement on the Police Federation website said: “The government may wish to draw a line under the 2007-08 pay dispute and just move on, but we’ve still got unfinished business.”

Earlier this week Personnel Today revealed that police officers would be taking their pay dispute to court.

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