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Commissioner calls on PM to "think again" over police funding cut


Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has criticised the Government for effectively cutting the police budget to fund a one off bonus to officers.

Mr Coppinger believes police officers and staff should have been awarded a centrally funded pay rise that better reflected the “incredible” job of work they do.

The Government announced yesterday they are to fund a 1% pay rise for police officers with a further one-off bonus payment equivalent to another 1% to come from existing police budgets.

Mr Coppinger said: “It appears the Government is not providing the funding for this one-off bonus, which in Cleveland is likely to mean a half million pound cut to our available budget over the next year.

“Instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul, the Government should recognise the incredible job that police officers and police staff do and fund a realistic pay rise."

Mr Coppinger is writing to Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to reconsider what is in effect a cut to police budgets.

“Despite losing over 400 officer posts and over £30m funding in recent years, Cleveland Police has made tremendous progress which has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. This includes a financial plan to stabilise officer numbers and ensure the most vulnerable in society are protected” said Mr Coppinger.

“For the Government to now grab a further £500,000 from our budget is a slap in the face to hard working officers and staff and the public of Cleveland.

“Already we have received feedback from some officers that they would rather not receive this bonus if it means a reduction in police officer numbers. They are showing more foresight than the Government with regard to the potential impact of this further cut.”

Mr Coppinger and Cleveland Chief Constable Iain Spittal met recently with the Policing and Fire Minister.

“We made very clearly the point that police officers and staff have suffered a real term reduction in pay in recent years and it was now time for the Government to properly recognise the vital and dedicated work that they do with a salary increase that was funded centrally, not through further cuts to police budgets.

“I was concerned, though not surprised, at the recent Police Federation survey that revealed that low morale amongst officers was, in the main, a result of the way the Government has treated them pay wise. A 1% rise will do little to increase morale and the additional money taken from our budget will bring further pressure upon the police.

“Hopefully the Prime Minister will think again. In the meantime the Chief Constable and I will be doing everything we can to minimise the impact on the public.”

 Click here to read the PCC's letter to the Prime Minister

Posted on Wednesday 13th September 2017
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