Police pay rises should be linked to performance, according to new report

Police should lose guaranteed pay rises based on length of service and should instead receive salaries based on performance and skills, a report out next month will reveal.

Thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has claimed the current pay system – which increases salaries regardless of effort or ability levels – does not reward expertise or encourage officers to learn specialist skills such as tackling violent and gang-related crime.

The report, Modernising the Police Workforce, comes as officers are locked in a bitter pay row with home secretary Jacqui Smith as she refused to backdate their pay increase to September 2007 – effectively giving them a 1.9% increase.

Due out in February, the report calls for pay bands to be introduced for each rank, with higher pay for those with specialist skills.

Guy Lodge, IPPR senior research fellow, said: “The police do a difficult and challenging job but no system of pay is fair that rewards people solely on the basis of time served rather than their ability to do the job effectively.

“The current row over pay levels is preventing much-needed debate about how we reward police officers and how we deliver a high-performing police service.”

The report comes ahead of Wednesday’s rally by the Police Federation on pay and the Flanagan Review of Policing, aimed at reducing bureacracy in the police force, due out early next month.

The report will also recommend:

  • A more skilled, specialised workforce: Allowing officers and staff to develop and use their skills to maximum effect by pursuing a wide range of specialisms. An officer might become a specialist in managing alcohol-related disorder, or in victim support.

  • New, more flexible team structures: Increased use of mixed teams of police officers and specialist civilians. Burglary teams might include civilian victim support or home security specialists.

  • A new supportive culture of training and development: More focus on the active development and training of each and every police worker. Training officers in current areas of weakness, such as forensic awareness and crime scene management.

  • A new approach to performance management: A move away from remote, central targets to one where performance is primarily driven by senior officers supporting constables to deliver results.

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