Police launch legal pay bid

POLICE officers in England and Wales have launched proceedings against the Government over its refusal to pay in full the expected 2.5 per cent pay award for the current year.

POLICE officers in England and Wales have launched proceedings against the Government over its refusal to pay in full the expected 2.5 per cent pay award for the current year.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith erred in law when she "shaved off' three-months-worth of the recommended increase to comply with a “Treasury dictat”, police lawyers argued at the High Court in London.

Gavin Millar QC, appearing for the Police Federation, said Ms Smith had approached the whole question of police pay "with a closed mind', and her decision could not stand.

It would cause police officers in England and Wales - but not Scotland - to lose £200 on average in pay in the current pay year, Mr Millar told two judges.


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Far more important than the amount was the "impact on the morale and confidence of the police over the statutory procedures for determining their pay,' he told Lord Justice Keene and Mr Justice Treacy.

Ms Smith had failed to recognise the "special and unique position' of the police and the restrictions on their freedom of action, including the right to strike, for better pay.

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Today's application for judicial review was launched by Police Federation general secretary John Francis and the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board and is expected to be heard over two days, with judgment at a later date.

Police lawyers say that police forces around the country had a "legitimate expectation' that they would receive the full 2.5pc increase recommended by the Police Appeal Tribunal (PAT).

But the Home Secretary decided in December not to backdate the 2.5pc award recommended by the pay tribunal to September 1, the beginning of the police pay year, leading to the reduced increase of only 1.9pc.

Home Office lawyers are arguing that Ms Smith did not approach the pay question with a closed mind and the Government had repeatedly made its position clear and acted within its powers.

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