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The hard sell of paying to police

Monday, 3 March 2014

It is, by all accounts, going to be a hard sell.

Here’s the brief – to try and make serving officers pay money, potentially more than £100 annually, to gain a certificate giving them the authority to do their job.

In short, to make them pay for a right to practice the roles they have been doing for years, if not decades. It is a question that has angered many who have said they will not be forking out.

But officers in years to come may not have choice. How will the College of Policing fund itself in the future? Will personnel have to become “chartered” professionals, such lawyers or accountants, as policing heavyweight Lord Stevens suggests?

It all begs the question – will everyone soon have to pay to police?

While many officers appear unwilling to dig deep to pay for their profession, it is one of the ways their policing and political pay masters see the future of policing.

Subscription questions

The College of Policing has asked officers and staff whether they would be willing to pay a subscription fee as part of a consultation on the professional body's future. Responses to the consultation – which ended in December – are currently being analysed.

In a strategic intent document, the College stated: “Comparable professional bodies charge their members a subscription fee. Even where the fee is relatively low, it helps the organisation maintain independence and gives its members a direct interest in the direction and performance of their professional body.

“There are no immediate plans to charge membership fees. However, we will explore all forms of membership, including voluntary subscriptions, as we develop our plans for the professional body.”

Over recent years, however, officers have suffered pay and increment freezes, increased pensions contributions, a loss of Special Priority Payments and are witnessing Competency Related Threshold Payments being phased out.

With all this, would they be willing to give up more money?

A PC from Greater Manchester Police, who asked not to be named, said: “I am going to be working longer to get less pension, have had several years of pay freezes and below inflation rises and pension contribution increases – and now they want more money out of my hard earned wage? I don’t think so.”

A PC from Surrey Police added: “Surely this madness has got to stop? As far as I see, this government will not be satisfied until every officer in England and Wales is ex-public school with a millionaire’s bank balance.

“It is stomach churning for the majority of us to have to watch the job we cherished, and were once proud of, reduced to a cash generator only accessible to the rich. I fear this will force many people to leave.”

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