IAN RENNIE – SPEECH TO CONFERENCE OPEN SESSION
WEDNESDAY 18 MAY 2012
Let me start by putting this morning‟s discussion into context. Last summer, in a misguided attempt to curry favour with the Government, ACPO produced a series of recommendations for police reform that were hugely detrimental to our members. I watched as leaders in other sectors, most notably in the Armed Services, fought their corner on behalf of their staff, but ACPO resolutely indicated that they could manage the 20% cuts without affecting front line service delivery if the police pay bill was cut.
Disappointingly, Sir Hugh Orde, President of ACPO and author of that paper, is unable to join us today as he is apparently attending a policing conference in Canada.
It is interesting that the leader of ACPO appears to consider there are more important matters on the policing agenda in Canada than there are here.
In its submission to the Winsor Review, the Association of Police Authorities called for the wholesale demolition of the current structure of police pay. Curiously, Ann Barnes, the Chair of the Official Side of the PNB and Vice Chair of the APA whose signature was on that submission is also unable to join us today. Apparently she is attending a conference in Durham.
Tom Winsor himself has known about the date of our Conference since last October. Despite initially accepting our invitation, he too – strangely – has suddenly had a better offer.
Apparently his previous experience as the Rail Regulator means he is in demand in the middle-east and is out of the country this week.
How disappointing that they are not here today to face you and to speak to their proposals?
However, I personally want to thank Peter Fahy and Rob Garnham for accepting the invitation to represent their organisations at Conference and to participate in today‟s session. And also Blair Gibbs who, although not a member of Winsor‟s Review Team, was an advisor to them as Head of the Crime and Justice Unit at the Policy Exchange. Prior to joining Policy Exchange he worked as Chief of Staff to the Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, Nick Herbert so he is well placed to understand this government‟s approach to policing.
I want to recall that three years ago we agreed a pay deal that gave us some space to negotiate a modern pay structure for police officers. Despite repeated requests by Staff Side at no stage during that time did the Official Side put anything constructive on the table.
Instead, they have clearly got Tom Winsor to do what they either couldn‟t bring themselves to do or were incapable of doing.
Staff Side have tried to bring to an understanding of the real world of policing to the attention of the Official Side.
Women account for 40 per cent of officers under five years‟ service. The service has benefited from recruiting more women but as the Women‟s Eve of Conference meeting highlighted, the Winsor Recommendations could make women an endangered species in policing.
Although the Official Side had accepted the PNB Equal Pay Audit as a robust analysis, the APA described it to Winsor as “fragile” and suggested that the removal of all allowances would solve the problem of unequal pay – completely disregarding the way eligibility criteria and manager‟s discretion are the biggest causes of the gender pay gap.
ACPO and the APA have both called for Variable Shift Arrangements to be subject only to consultation rather than agreement with Joint Branch Boards.
The requirement for such an agreement is part of a previous PNB agreement that the Official Side signed up to and is the only protection officers have to protect their welfare and work-life balance. Yet Tom Winsor has blindly accepted this suggestion, despite admitting that he had no evidence that a Branch Board has ever prevented the implementation of a VSA.
The APA and ACPO have both called for reductions in overtime payments. Winsor has accepted this suggestion too. The APA actually acknowledged that overtime has fallen, but still complained that rates remain generous. In fact police officers receive time and a third, when many employees would get time and a half. For many employees overtime is triggered after 15 minutes additional working, but police officers have to disregard 30 minutes overtime on four separate occasions in any week.
ACPO and the APA have also called for CRTPs and SPPs to be removed; another suggestion Winsor has accepted. They appear to have forgotten that they in fact wanted this local flexibility to reward the roles and performance of officers.
It‟s really quite perverse that they now complain that these payments are divisive and don‟t work, yet in their submission to Winsor they still want the flexibility to be able to reward the roles and performance of officers locally.
They also forget that these payments were introduced as a negotiated settlement in return for the abolition of a number of allowances and that the removal of CRTP will result in the annual pensions of police officers being reduced by £800.
Tom Winsor clearly stated on several occasions that his review was totally independent and that his recommendations would be based on evidence. He even complimented us on the quality of the Police Federation submissions. Yet his report contains little or no evidence to support his recommendations, which spookily includes a number of long standing Official Side claims.
I know that the police service has spent a great deal of money making many of us into the deeply cynical people that we are today but do they really expect us to believe that the definition of „Independent‟ has changed.
Mr Fahy, Winsor‟s recommendations amount to the removal of £485 million from police pay by 2013-14. Not from the police budget, but from police pay.
As I have already identified, last year ACPO initially suggested that the cuts to police budgets could be managed if the police pay bill was reduced. You were quoted at the beginning of this year as saying that money should not be removed from police pay but should be re-distributed within the pay bill, recognising the difficulties such financial hardship could cause within the service.
We now understand that this £485M will remain within police budgets.
So the first question for you to answer this morning is – Why do ACPO still support officers pay being cut, their pensions reduced and their working conditions worsened so that officer numbers can be maintained?
I have to say that I find it quite incredible that ACPO, an organisation that purports to be the leaders of the service and according to Peter Neyroud should be at the head of a professional body for the police service – actually expects officers to pay an annual membership subscription to support them whilst at the same time they are supporting the reduction of their pay and conditions.
If that‟s leadership then they really have taken over the asylum.
Mr Fahy, you will be aware that tomorrow this conference will debate a motion regarding confidence in ACPO. We are all professional police officers and know about policing. It‟s about time ACPO started to show leadership by standing up, being honest with the government and supporting those you purport to lead.
Clearly, the Winsor Report is nothing more than a management cost-cutting exercise which ignores the impact upon morale and motivation. It approaches every aspect of policing from the belief that police officers must do more, but for less pay.
I don‟t think you understand – There is only one thing you get for less and that‟s less.
It‟s about time that ACPO, the APA and this government realised that in police officers they have the most flexible workforce in the country with a „can do‟ attitude that I don‟t believe exists in any other group of workers.
The existing terms and conditions have been negotiated over many years and provide a financial dis-incentive to forces that affords work life balance protection for officers.
It should not be forgotten that the police service operates largely on the good will of officers, many of whom go the extra mile for no additional remuneration.
The government interferes with the current arrangements at its peril.
At our last PNB meeting I asked the Official Side if it was fully aware of the impact of Winsor‟s recommendations, particularly when taken together with Lord Hutton‟s pension proposals.
Would members of the Official Side themselves or anybody else for that matter (including yourselves gentlemen) be happy to accept their pay being significantly reduced whilst inflation is currently running at over five per cent, with a suggested two year public sector pay freeze and with increased pension contributions?
I think not – yet this is what is being proposed for police officers.
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and other high profile inquiries have clearly set out what is at stake when police officers fail to properly discharge their responsibilities. The Lord Scarman Report after the Brixton riots established the need to attract candidates 15
of sufficient maturity into the police service. While there are several references to the 1960s in the Winsor Report, the lack of reference to these much more recent reports is disappointing.
I regard this Review as a terrible missed opportunity.
I said it to Tom Winsor during our meetings and I will say it again here today. This is a „baby and bathwater‟ moment for the service. We are where we are today because of history. We have evolved as a police service because of the expectations and service demands rightly placed upon us by the public.
If only Tom Winsor had included within his report what he said to me on two occasions „if there was ever a case for a Royal Commission in Policing it‟s now‟.
I personally feel let down by him simply because at our first meeting last year I actually believed him when he told me that everything was on the record. This was clearly not the case.
I have to pay tribute to the West Midlands JBB for the excellent work they have put into promoting the Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for a Royal Commission. My personal thanks to Andy Gilbert, Chris Jones and everyone involved
And I am encouraged by the Shadow Home Secretary‟s commitment yesterday to an independent review of policing.
The Winsor recommendations must be assessed in terms of the calibre and the diversity of people we recruit into the police service and the impact that it will have upon the communities we serve if we are no longer able to attract and retain them.
This is not just about pay and conditions – This is about the future of policing and our ability to protect and serve our communities.