People have to look past the media spin - The starting salary of a Police officer is irrelevant, and should be seen as merely another way of whipping up emotions at a time when ALL public services are under attack. The Government along with the media are doing a very good job at turning public opinion against the Police Service; every day there is a news story about Police corruption, inefficiency, laziness, stupidity etc. Whilst at the same time there is a lot of coverage over the Pay and Conditions of officers. Naturally, people look at their own salaries and think – “It’s not that bad…”.
No it’s not that bad at all. I’m a Police Officer and I started on a much lower wage than this but it didn't stop me joining, nor will this reduction stop anyone else, who is intent on a Police career, joining the job. It’s never really been about the money, but rather the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile. However, consider this – CMD has expressed the wish to professionalise the Police Service. He wants to attract the best graduates (without considering how many graduates there already are – 60% of my shift) and make the role of Police Officer closer, professionally speaking, to that of a Dr or Lawyer. He does this by LOWERING the starting salary and making it less vocational and more transient. This is not a recipe for good policing.
To clarify the current position of the Police Service – YOUR Police Service; budgets are being cut on a truly massive scale, the Home Office are telling forces that they have to adopt new practices, focus on this that or the other (irrespective of the problems specific to each force area, city, town or village) – all of which costs money. Training of new legislation, new procedures, forms & equipment needed to fulfil the orders passed down from on high etc. all costs money – money the forces don’t have. So what do they do? How do they do it?
Well, the biggest expenditure of any organisation are its people; they get rid of the most expensive people – i.e. the Police Officers with the longest service, which incidentally, are those with the most knowledge and experience (regulation A19), and then have a recruitment freeze. Couple the recruitment freeze with a wage freeze and then some money is saved. However, there is an unseen and immeasurable cost here – all but the most visible Policing disappears. The cracks have already opened and they’re getting wider.
The starting salary of a newly recruited Police Officer is irrelevant. It is a red herring. It does not matter. It is merely to introduce more division and anger towards the Police. If budgets are being cut to such an extent that all forces are making large scale and sweeping redundancies, the starting salary doesn’t mean anything. Nobody will be earning it.