Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Force Could Lose Officers If Pay Rises Go Ahead; GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES 2% INCREASE BUT WON'T FOOT THE BILL

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Force Could Lose Officers If Pay Rises Go Ahead; GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES 2% INCREASE BUT WON'T FOOT THE BILL

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jonathan.walker@trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121

DURHAM Police could lose 12 officers because of the Government's decision to grant a pay rise without explaining where the money will come from, an MP has claimed.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson has written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd urging her to ensure forces receive financial help.

He told her: "The estimated cost to Durham is approximately PS0.5m and the choice for Durham is to either take it out of reserves, which have been earmarked for other purposes, or reduce officer numbers."

It follows the Government's announcement that police are to receive a 2% pay rise for 2017-18, ending the public sector pay cap, which has limited rises to a maximum of 1% for the past seven years.

But there is no extra money from central Government to pay for the increase. Instead, forces will be expected to find the money from existing budgets, even though they have already had to cope with large funding cuts.

Ron Hogg, Durham's Labour Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), warned earlier this week that staff cuts had left officers overworked, with some taking sick leave or experiencing mental health issues as a result.

And Mr Wilson said that finding an extra PS500,000 to fund the pay increase could mean Durham Police had to reduce officer numbers by approximately 12 for a 12-month period. He pointed out that some of the extra salary would actually go to the Treasury in the form of income tax and National Insurance, and urged Ministers to ensure that this money was returned to forces.

In his letter to the Home Secretary, Mr Wilson said: "The total national cost to the police service of the non-pensionable award to police officers has been estimated at PS50m. Therefore a proportion of this, approximately in the region of PS12m-PS15m, will be paid in income tax and national insurance to the Treasury. …

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