Scottish police officers consider 'impactful' action over pay dispute, says SPF general secretary

Scottish police officers are considering potential industrial action after rejecting an annual pay increase the Scottish Police Federation has branded “derisory”.

Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said there is “palpable anger" across the police workforce after rejecting the annual pay increase.

The annual pay increase of £565 was named “derisory” by the general secretary as the pay dispute between the “official side” – the Scottish Police Authority, Police Scotland and Scottish Government ministers – and staff remains ongoing.

The SPF, which represents all police officers from constable to chief inspector (98 per cent of all police officers in Scotland), had asked for a 3.4 per cent pay increase.

Scottish police officers are considering potential industrial action after rejecting an annual pay increase (Photo: John Devlin).

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However, the federation said the current offer amounts to approximately 2 per cent for most members and 1 per cent for higher-earning members.

Mr Steele said the officers are currently considering their options as the SPF said any action they take would be “impactful”.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, SPF general secretary Calum Steele said: "There is palpable anger across our workforce. The options they we are looking at are wide and they are varied.

"They will be impactful and be in no doubt that the willingness of the police service to simply stand back and accept this derisory offer at a time that other bodies and other workers will be taking much more action than we are capable of doing - the notion that we are going to accept that and stay silent is simply a fantasy."

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The pay dispute comes as the Scottish government is involved in negotiations with other public sector workers.

ScotRail confirmed some late night rail services will return after a breakthrough in pay talks last week with the drivers’ union Aslef agreeing a 5% pay deal in principle.

Local authority workers are being balloted for strike action in August over pay that could shut schools and nurseries after the summer break. Approximately 25,000 staff working in schools, nurseries, waste and recycling centres will be asked to consider industrial action.

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Despite legal limits on police officers’ ability to take industrial action, Mr Steele said SPF members were willing to take a "sustained reaction" lasting "many, many months" unless there was a "significant improvement".

Mr Steele added: "There are many options that are available to us. We're looking strongly at all of them.

"The goodwill that this police service runs on is undoubtedly disappearing faster than snow off the proverbial dyke.

"Whilst police officers can be ordered to undertake overtime, they can't be ordered to undertake overtime if no one can get hold of them.”

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The Scottish Government has said they are currently awaiting the outcome of discussions handled by the Police Negotiating Board.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "Negotiations for police officer pay for 2022/23 are currently ongoing through the Police Negotiating Board and we await the outcome of those discussions."

Last year, police officers received a £700 pay rise and a separate non-consolidated payment of £250. In Scotland, a new constable will start on a salary of £26,737.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Our hard working officers and staff are committed to keeping people safe every day.

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"Police pay negotiations are carried out by the Police Negotiating Board and we’re unable to comment further while those discussions are ongoing.”

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