Salary cut for PCs is the "final nail" in the coffin of policing
THE chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Federation has described the news that constables' starting salaries will be slashed as the "final nail in the coffin".
Home Secretary Theresa May today announced that she has accepted recommendations on reform made by the Police Arbitration Tribunal and will overhaul pay, conditions and allowances.
Ex-rail regulator Tom Winsor, the review's author, was appointed last year as the Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales and recommended that £1 billion could be cut from police pay.
The starting salary for new recruits with no policing experience will become £19,000, but £22,000 for more experienced officers, such as those who have worked as special constables or Police Community Support Officers. The current starting salary is £23,000.
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Local police federation chairman Kev Phillips, who represents the constabulary's officers and staff, told The Post: "To be blunt – this is the final nail in the coffin for the police service.
"This will not only affect the people looking to join the force straight from school, it will also affect vast swathes of the population who might have skills and experience that would make them good officers.
"For example, if you're a bit older and married with children, there's no way you would be able to afford to live off that sort of salary.
"These proposals have not come as a surprise to the federation, but that doesn't make it any better."
Avon and Somerset constabulary has already had its annual budget slashed by millions in the last two years and lost several hundred officers due to retirements and those transferring to other forces not being replaced. From a peak of about 3,400 officers, there are now less than 3,000 policing the region.
Mr Phillips added: "Along with the budget cuts from the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, the salary cut doesn't bode well for the future of policing."
Speaking at the House of Commons earlier, Mrs May said: "Existing police pay and conditions were designed more than 30 years ago which is why we asked Tom Winsor to carry out his independent review.
"Police officers and staff deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe, and enable them to deliver effectively for the public.
"The Government's reform programme is working – crime is falling and public confidence is high."
The proposals do, however, cut the number of pay scales from 10 to seven, meaning constables could reach the highest pay grade of £36,000 more quickly.