‘Pay rise may stop us hiring officers’
LANCASHIRE Constabulary may not be able to hire additional police officers after the Government promised a pay rise but offered no new funding.
That is the warning from Clive Grunshaw, the county’s police and crime commissioner, who says the pay increase will cost around £6.8m.
The Government last week announced a 2.5% pay rise for a range of public sector workers including police officers, but has not put forward any new funds to support the increase.
The announcement comes on the back of plans to hire 20,000 new officers across the country, restoring police numbers to the levels seen in 2010 before huge austerity-era cuts.
Welcoming the increase, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she had promised to give police additional funding, powers and resources, adding: “This government is backing the police and as Home Secretary I will do everything in my power to ensure our police are fully supported.”
But those claims came under fire from Mr Grunshaw, who has previously criticised the unfair allocation of additional officers in favour of areas which had suffered smaller cuts.
Reacting to the pay increase, he said he was glad to see officers being rewarded but accused the Government of making a “smoke and mirrors” announcement.
Mr Grunshaw said: “As always with the Home Office, the devil is in the detail. It is disappointing that the government will seek to fund this pay rise and associated costs through existing budgets. This means that Lancashire Constabulary will have to find even more money out of its already stretched budget so that the government can keep its promises.
“It is estimated that this 2.5% increase will cost around £6.8m, which will have to be found by making savings elsewhere.”
Mr Grunshaw said the changes are likely to have an impact on the force’s ability to fund an increase in officer numbers.
“Without government funding to meet these costs, it will be extremely difficult to deliver the required uplift in officer numbers. Lancashire has the ambition and capability to deliver these officers, but this ambition needs to be matched by the government funding.
“Lancashire needs a fair deal for police funding. For the government [to] announce a pay rise without adequate funding shows how the government will happily give with one hand whilst taking with the other.
“The Home Secretary must reconsider her stance and her failure to properly fund the police in Lancashire.”
The government has announced a pay rise for police, but offered no new funding, Right, Clive Grunshaw (picture by James Jebson) and Priti Patel