Home Department – in the House of Commons on 14th November 2022.
What discussions she has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) relevant stakeholders on the adequacy of entry pay rates for new police officers.
The independent Police Remuneration Review Body makes recommendations to the Government on the pay and allowances for police officers. In July, we announced that we had accepted the review body’s recommendation to award a consolidated increase of £1,900 at all pay points with effect from
Police officers inform me that they have faced a 20% real-terms pay cut over the past decade, and there seems to be a particular problem with new recruits. My local federation tells me that some of its officers are using food banks and that a potential new recruit decided to continue his career with a fast food chain because he had been offered a pay rise. Does the Secretary of State admit that pay and remuneration for police officers—professionals who put their lives in danger on our behalf—is a real problem?
The Government recognise that increases in the cost of living are having a significant impact on the lower-paid. In that context, and after careful consideration, we chose to accept in full the review body’s recommendations to award the consolidated increases that I mentioned. We want to ensure that there is support for our officers, who play a vital role in this country.
Given that on the streets of London alone, entry pay rates have already attracted 4,734 more police officers to join the Metropolitan police, and given how vital it is to continue to provide the right place for those new recruits to be properly trained, does the Home Secretary agree that Uxbridge remains the most sensible place in Hillingdon to have a place station? Will she join me in passing that view to the present Mayor of London?
My right hon. Friend speaks a lot of sense, as usual. He is absolutely right and he has a huge amount of which to be proud when it comes to increasing the numbers of police officers on the frontline fighting crime and standing up for victims, which Labour has opposed at every opportunity. If I may make a humble request of him, will he give up some of his precious time to advise the current Mayor of London who is wholly failing on fighting crime, having seen a 9% increase in crime in London? The Mayor really could take some advice from his predecessor.
I call the shadow Minister, Sarah Jones.
New statistics published today reveal that the mini-Budget cost even more than we first thought—a staggering £30 billion. That comes on top of 12 years of austerity, which has seen a real-terms pay cut for police and staff, thousands of jobs lost and prosecutions plummet. The Home Secretary was in the Cabinet and the Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire was No. 2 in the Treasury at the time of the mini-Budget. Will they both now apologise to our police for the damage they have done?
The Government are clear that policing must have a modern pay structure that recognises and rewards skills and competence, rather than time served. In line with that approach, chief constables have the discretion to pay an officer a starting salary of between £23,556 and £26,682 depending on qualifications and experience. The settlement is fair. We want our police officers to be empowered and strong in the fight against crime.