The exchange between Amber Rudd and the Police Federation over pay and pay rises appears to have disclosed just how substantial the gap is between the Government which has been setting our laws and budgets for the last 7 years and the rest of society. As Amber Rudd suggests in this short clip, the pay of Police Officers is higher when one takes into account the amount of overtime that they earn than their basic pay and she claims that the average level of that pay is about £40,000 or rather that is what she has been told. It is difficult to quantify figures when they are based on hearsay. The fact is that an average pay packet across a large workforce would suggest some have earned a great deal more than £40,000 and some a great deal less.
As Ms Rudd points out MPs have no control over their pay settlements just as Police Officers have no control over theirs. However MPs have a starting salary of £74,000 which has risen substantially in the last couple of years whilst Police Officers have been restricted to 1% rises by MPs and the Government. Ministers get an additional sum on top of their pay as MPs. In addition MPs and Ministers are able to claim expenses for second homes and various other matters. Some MPs claim as much as £200,000 in a year and then in the case of some MPs their outside earnings which are allowed under the current corrupt system allows some of them to claim £300,000 or even £600,000 for some of the higher paid MPs.
The starting salary for police constables in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is between £19,383 and £22,962, rising to £37,254 at the top of the scale – achievable after about seven years. The average salary for a Police Officer is £30,901 and their conditions do mean that they can be asked to work beyond their usual working hours and for this they will of course be paid in addition to their basic salary. I have been in briefings with Police Officers where decisions taken by MPs, or Protesters or Businesses or Councils have led to Senior Police Officers cancelling leave for officers which of course has an impact on pay.
When it comes to danger in the role, whilst the tragic death of Jo Cox and attacks on MPs such as Stephen Timms show that MPs do have a profile that attracts risks which go well beyond the risks many of us face, it is clear from the death of Keith Palmer and indeed many other Police Officers over recent years that their role places them in harms way to an extent that few other roles do and certainly a great deal more than MPs face. Bearing in mind that the average MP earns well over twice the sum that the average Police Officer earns before overtime is taken into account and then when overtime and outside earnings and expenses are taken into account, MPs earn close to 5 times the sum Amber Rudd suggests that Police Officers earn, it is time for our Government to do a better job of understanding the world that they have created and for our next Home Secretary to better understand the true pay and conditions of Police Officers.