The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) represents 140,000 police constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors. The PFEW exists by statute to represent and promote the interests and welfare of our members and the efficiency of the police service. The PFEW is part of the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board (PNB).The PNB is a statutory body, established by Act of Parliament in 1980, that exists to negotiate the pay and terms and conditions of all 165,000 police officers in the UK. Any proposals to alter these arrangements should not be made without due consideration of this fact. Staff Side’s normal practice would have been to develop a joint submission to such a consultation. However, the tight deadline involved in this Review has not allowed a joint Staff Side submission on this occasion.
In making this submission to the Review, the PFEW would make the following observations which it believes are fundamental to the way police officers perform their duties and to the way in which their remuneration and conditions of service are determined. Police officers are not employees. The Office of Constable provides police officers with legal powers of arrest and control of the public given to them directly by a sworn oath and warrant: they have not been delegated these powers simply because they have been appointed as officers. There is no choice for police officers; they can be directed to work at any place and at any time at the command of their chief constable.
The primary function of the Office of Constable is to protect life and property. It is also the duty of a constable to prevent and detect crime and to uphold the Queen’s peace. Even when a police officer is off duty, their failure to carry-out the responsibilities of the Office of Constable would see them facing procedures for misconduct.
Police officers occupy a unique position of trust and responsibility. The Office of Constable, therefore, requires individuals of the highest integrity. This must be reflected in police remuneration and conditions of service.