Pay freeze a 'complete betrayal and taking us for granted' say Northamptonshire's police officers

'We get spat at, burnt, shot at and this is a kick in the teeth from Government'

By Kevin Nicholls
Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:27 pm
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:29 pm

Northamptonshire's police officers are "dismayed, outraged and worried" following the Government's announcement of a pay freeze.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told Parliament on Wednesday that firefighters, teachers, police, the armed forces, civil servants, and council and government agency staff would all have pay rises “paused” to reduce expenditure in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Only NHS doctors and nurses would be allowed a pay increase among public sector workers in 2021.

Sgt Sam Dobbs is Chair of the Northamptonshire Police Federation

But Northamptonshire Police Federation chair Sam Dobbs said: "My members household bills won’t be frozen. They will face the spending increases we all know about, and worry about the inflation politicans talk about.

"We accept that policing is dangerous and fraught with risk. But it is equally dangerous to take our vocation for granted and this announcement does just that.

"Our officers get spat at, burnt, shot at and threatened, yesterday’s announcement truly does kick us in the teeth.

"We might as well have had our feet stamped on and grit thrown in our face at the same time.

"Let there be no doubt that this is being seen as a complete betrayal of my colleagues."

Two Northamptonshire officers were burned by water from a boiling kettle being thrown over them during an incident earlier this month. And a volunteer Special Constable escaped serious injury after being dragged along by a car as the driver attempted to avoid arrest.

Most recently a team of officers fearlessly tackled a man wielding a knife in an Asda supermarket.

Sgt Dobbs added: "In recent weeks, officers have been appalled by incidents highlighting the dangers which frontline officers face in their duty to fight crime and protect the people of Northamptonshire.

"This is after an extraordinary year when they have also dealt with everything that coronavirus has wrought on us all. Many of us have suffered the impact on our home lives.

"We also understand, and forget at our peril, that we have been lucky to have jobs and an income with some security.

"We have changed our duties to support the public, often at the last minute, and bent over backwards to do the right thing. We have received both the wrath or support of our community from those that want us to enforce more, to those that consider enforcement of Covid legislation wholly excessive.

"We have been largely forgotten in Government acknowledgements, though we are rightly happy to play a comfortable backseat to the real heroes of this crisis — our colleagues in the NHS.

"We have become used to the support, at last, of a Home Secretary who ‘gets’ policing, and with whom a meaningful relationship was forming. We were pleased with the unfreezing of our pay at the beginning of September, which started to recompense years of austerity and a real terms pay cut of 18 per cent.

"This pay freeze marks that as laughably short-lived.

"What the public can be absolutely assured of is our consummate professionalism and dedication to fighting criminals and protecting the people of this county with fairness, integrity and impartiality.

"But I am also very keen that the public understands the impact of yesterday’s announcement on their police officers in these most difficult times and how officers feel."