‘Pay rise could see police numbers fall’

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Representatives of Lincolnshire Police say a ‘derisory’ pay offer of two per cent could mean officer numbers having to be reduced in the future.

An open letter demanding answers from Government on the pay award has been published by those representing rank and file officers from across the country.

Jon Hassall, chairman of Lincolnshire Police Federation, said: “The two per cent awarded has to come from existing policing budgets, which means forces may have to choose between officer numbers and public safety. That cannot be right.

“Although I’m reassured from a conversation with the police and crime commissioner, Marc Jones, that there will be no reduction in officer or staff numbers over the coming 12 to 18 months, I feel the prospects beyond that are bleak.

“Police officers serve the public, but also are the public. Many Lincolnshire officers have called to give up the one per cent ‘bonus’ element of this year’s pay award to protect the service they are proud to be a part of, yet at the same time many also need a substantial pay rise because of the effects of successive pay freezes and below inflation pay rises. Even that one per cent will make a substantial difference to those officers at the beginning of their careers.”

The letter says officers are working longer hours, called back in when they are off or given extra responsibilities.

Mr Hassall added: “Officers give all to become police officers but they are broken; unable to cope with the mental and physical demands placed upon them by having to work in depleted environments.”

Force Chief Constable Bill Skelly has also said that law enforcement would be “acutely” affected if pay rises were taken from existing budgets.