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Home secretary urged by Labour to ‘listen and change course’ after police pay offer backlash

PRITI PATEL has been urged by Labour to “listen and change course” following a backlash over her decision to offer police an “insulting” zero per cent pay offer. 

The Police Federation said on Thursday it no longer had confidence in the Home Secretary, branding the bitterly opposed pay freeze for officers earning over £24,000 the last straw.

The federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, has withdrawn from the body that reviews remuneration.

Its national chairman John Apter said today: “We feel bitterly let down, betrayed, and this isn’t just about the pay announcement.

“This goes back to the vaccination programme. Let’s look at the way that we were vilified and then hung out to dry during the pandemic, with the Home Secretary saying nice things and not following it up.”

He told LBC that it was not too late for the Home Secretary to reverse the decision. 

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds MP also urged Ms Patel to change course after previously saying her position was “untenable” in light of the Police Federation’s opposition.

Pay freezes were announced this week for the majority of public-sector workers, including police and teachers. But the government made a U-turn on pay for NHS staff, scrapping the widely condemned 1 per cent pay “insult” and replacing it with a 3 per cent rise that still leaves NHS workers thousands of pounds poorer in real terms than they were a decade ago. Health unions have warned they may take industrial action.

Police chiefs also condemned the move, with the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police Nick Adderley branding the decision “wholly unacceptable” and an “insult.” 

In a statement on Twitter on Thursday night, he said: “Over the past 18 months I have seen officers punched, stabbed, shot, persecuted and ridiculed whilst attempting to implement confusing, rushed and ambiguous legislation, in order to protect the public and rightly the NHS, only to be ignored when it comes to a pay settlement.”

A Home Office spokesman said the Home Secretary had demonstrated her support for officers “time and time again” but added the economy had been “significantly impacted by the pandemic.”

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