Pay talks between police and the Home Office have broken down, with rank and file officers ready to join other public sector workers in campaigning against below-inflation wage increases.
Talks at the Police Negotiating Board collapsed after rank and file officers rejected an offer of 2.3%, saying it was “unacceptable” because it was below the requested rise of 3.5%. Police representatives said government negotiators also refused an amendment to allow the re-opening of negotiations if inflation increased more than government predictions over the next three years.
Paul McKeever, staff side chairman of the Police Negotiating Board (PNB), said he was “bitterly disappointed”.
“Despite assurances that there would be fair negotiation this year, the official side of the PNB yet again appears to have their hands tied behind their backs by a government intent on driving down police pay, failing to recognise the unique status of police officers and the restrictions placed on their working and private lives.
“We will take our very fair and reasonable claim of 3.5% to conciliation or the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal and fight to ensure that police officers receive the very best deal possible.”
The Home Office has accused the police of “scuppering” a pay offer of 7.8% over three years, after indicating they were ready to sign it.
Earlier this year more than 20,000 officers marched through London to protest after the home secretary awarded them a below-inflation pay rise. Police are banned from taking industrial action by law, but a federation poll of front-line officers, published in May, showed 86% backed a move to seek industrial rights like striking.
Negotiations are expected to go to the dispute resolution service Acas.