Priti Patel risks fury as she defends police pay freeze in video message

Priti Patel risks fury as she defends police pay freeze in video message
Priti Patel risks fury as she defends police pay freeze in video message

Priti Patel provoked fury today as she defended the decision to freeze police pay in a pre-recorded video message after failing to attend a conference for high-ranking officers in person. 

The Home Secretary has told the Superintendents' Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-Upon-Avon that the government 'can't justify' higher salaries. 

Ms Patel would normally be expected to attend the conference, as she did in 2019, although last year she spoke virtually for Covid reasons.

Police Federation chair John Apter tweeted: 'At the @policesupers conference, hearing that the Home Secretary is now not attending in person. 

'In addition, the meeting I had with the Home Secretary later this week has also been cancelled. Seems engagement with the organisations representing police officers is not a priority!'  

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The Home Secretary is addressing the Superintendents' Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-Upon-Avon by pre-recorded video

The Home Secretary is addressing the Superintendents' Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-Upon-Avon by pre-recorded video

It came as event organisers the Police Superintendents' Association (PSA) announced it was withdrawing from the independent system that sets their salaries after widespread outrage over a pay freeze. 

The PSA is joining the Police Federation - which represents other ranks - in leaving the process following a bitter row over the Government decision to freeze pay for officers who earn more than £24,000.

In contrast, NHS staff will receive a 3% increase and firefighters and local government workers a 1.5% rise.

Today, Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick defied ministers by backing union calls for higher pay, saying: 'I do believe police deserve a pay rise and a fair system for calculating it.'

PSA president Paul Griffiths would normally make his annual conference address to Ms Patel in person but this year she will instead provide a recorded speech.

In the video, she said: 'The pandemic deepened the disparity between public and private sector wages - many private sector workers lost jobs, or saw their wages seriously reduced.

'This meant the Chancellor could not justify an across-the-board pay increase for public sector workers.

'He asked the advice of the pay review bodies, proposing to raise pay in the NHS but pause pay rises

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