Defence Police Federation Members may at last be getting some positive pay news. Defence Under Secretary Tobias Ellwood MP confirmed the lifting of the 1% Public Sector pay freeze would affect their pay packets at the organisation's conference.
Pay parity and non-payment of the agreed 1% non-consolidated bonus, paid to all other forces in the UK but not the MOD police, were among the hot topics at the event, held in Stansted.
The Minister offered some positive news but said he ‘couldn’t confirm’ the exact change DPF members could expect to see in their salaries following the public sector pay review.
“The Chief Treasury Secretary has indicated the freeze on public sector pay has been lifted, and while I can’t confirm what the exact changes will be, pay will be backdated to June,” he said.
The disparity in pay between MOD Police and other Home Office forces was also high on the agenda but the news was not so good for delegates.
“I was surprised at the odd distinction (MOD Police receive 95% of Home Office police pay) when I came to office,” the Minister said.
“But as you all know there is huge pressure on budgets all round – that’s why we need to look at efficiencies, look at different ways of doing things with new technologies.
“We need to be more imaginative in how we use the funds we have.
“I am aware too that the non-consolidated 1% bonus has not been agreed for the force and I understand that’s it not feasible because of funding.
“I do appreciate that won’t be well received but we have to make a political case for it and for funding in general with the Treasury, so I hope we; myself, the force and the Federation can all work towards that.
“With you and the Armed Forces if we don’t pay them what they deserve they won’t stay or they won’t join in the first place,” he added.
“We don’t want pay to be the reason they don’t join, and we are nearly at that place – that’s why I am determined to campaign and to make the case to say that defence needs more funds to retain that professionalism you all display.”
He did promise that the department would look to consult with the Federation and force on pensions and retirement ages but added that new technology and adopting different ways of working could help officers work for MOD Police later in life but in changing roles.
The size of the MOD Police is unlikely to change anytime soon he stressed.
“The size of the force hasn’t really changed over the last five years,” he told delegates.
“And it’s unlikely to grow depending, of course, on our defence posture and if the responsibility for guarding our establishments and equipment changes too.
“We never want to see anyone put at risk but unless our armed forces change, the MOD Police will stay the same size.
“If new carrier comes in then that will be a discussion we have.
“As in all areas the force must demonstrate value for money to show we are efficient and effective and to battle alongside other departments such as health and education for funds.
“Part of that will be about making the public aware of what you do – at the moment defence and the Armed Forces are all rather taken for granted by the electorate.”
“We are fighting hard at the MOD for more funding – it’s the people side which is important for me, keeping our people safe, our armed forces safe and their equipment is fundamental, so it was good to come be here and to understand the challenges you are facing.
“It’s important to have open dialogue and a friendship and I want to say thank you for what you do in these extremely difficult times and circumstances.”