South Yorkshire Police chief warns of impact of pay rise for bobbies

Stephen Watson
Stephen Watson

South Yorkshire's Chief Constable has warned that a pay rise for police officers could mean cuts need to be made.

Stephen Watson said he is 'pleased' the Government has awarded police officers a pay increase to 'reflect the challenging work that they do' but pointed out that no extra cash has been awarded to forces to pay for the salary increases.

The police chief said the annual one per cent pay rise will add an extra £1 million onto South Yorkshire Police's wage bill and that unless force reserves are allowed to be used - money saved for emergencies - cuts will have to be made.

Chf Constable Watson said: “I believe that our officers pay should reflect the challenging work that they do.

“I’m pleased their efforts have been recognised and while I am in support of the pay increase, no additional money has been made available by Central Government so the funding will come from our existing budgets.

“It is inevitable, therefore, that the increase will have an impact on some of our existing resources.

“The additional bonus for police officers will cost us about £1m per year.

“In the current financial year it will add around £600,000 to our costs which were not anticipated at the time the budget was set.

“This will have to be found from additional cost reductions or through the Police and Crime Commissioner supporting it from reserve.

“As the bonus is for one year we are unsure yet on the impact for future years and we are unlikely to receive more information until the budget in November.”

Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, who oversees the way police funding is spent in South Yorkshire, expressed concern at the lack of government cash for the pay increase when it was announced earlier this month.

He said using reserves was a 'potentially dangerous path' to take, pointing out that South Yorkshire Police needs its savings to pay for costs incurred over the Hillsborough disaster and child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.