Chief Constable unable to say when 7% pay uplift for officers will be made

Northern Ireland’s chief constable has said he cannot say when officers will receive their pay award.

Jon Boutcher said he understands the money for the 7% pay uplift is with the Department of Justice but he does not yet know when it will get to the officers.

He told the Northern Ireland Policing Board he was due to speak with Justice Minister Naomi Long on Thursday afternoon.

“The organisation should know, and I’m sure they do, that I will be relentless in making sure that 7% is landed, and the signs are positive because the money has been allocated to justice that I believe covers that,” he said.

Stormont Assembly
Justice Minister Naomi Long is meeting with Jon Boutcher (Oliver McVeigh/PA)

“I’m doing everything that we have needed to do to make sure that transitions into cash in their pockets and in their wage packet.”

He also described as “crazy” that money for pay uplifts has only been allocated for one year.

“This is the same for all public services and this is the challenge for everybody here,” he said.

“There is no such provision for next year. I don’t know the legals on this but you can’t pay a pay award one year and then take it away the next. This is crazy.

“That is something that I know each of the ministers will be wrestling with.

Liam Kelly interview
Liam Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (Peter Morrison/PA)

In a statement, Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank-and-file officers, urged Ms Long to act expeditiously.

He said: “As we approach three weeks before the end of the financial year, the pay recommendations for police officers have still not been formally confirmed nor ratified, and PSNI have yet to be granted the requisite permission nor allocated the additional funds to enable them to pay it.

“Should this not be forthcoming within the next week, then it will be, at best, the end of April 2024 before officers will see any uplift in their pay packets. This is something that can be sorted out relatively quickly as the means are there, so we fully expected to see positive action before now.

“Police officers, particularly those with less than five years’ experience, are not well paid. They need the pay award that’s the same as the 7% that officers received in England and Wales to help them deal with this continuing cost-of-living crisis.

“To continue to deny them what they are entitled to is simply unfair. I’m asking the Justice Minister to expeditiously take action to deal with this crucial unresolved matter.”

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