West Midlands Police workers to get extra pay rise
Police staff and PCSOs look set to have their pay boosted to match an officers' increase because they "deserve the same treatment", a crime commissioner has announced.
The move by West Midlands Police contrasts sharply with Norfolk Police's proposal to cut its entire 150-strong complement of community support officers following the "most extensive review in the force's history".
The East Anglian force said on Thursday that the planned shake-up could save £1.6 million and allow investment in frontline policing, on the basis "the organisational cost of a PCSO is not significantly different to a Pc".
However, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said 3,758 personnel would benefit from an additional 1% increase on top of a planned 1% hike.
He said the staff, including PCSOs and 999 call-handlers, "play a hugely important role" and deserve the same treatment as officers.
The decision brings the force staff's pay rise into line with the full increase given to all other full-time frontline officers nationally, and unveiled by the Government last month.
The commissioner said the boost would also "break" the public sector pay cap, which has kept rises for workers below 1% since 2010.
Separately, Mr Jamieson has also called on the Government to "top up" police pay by the time of next month's Budget so it matches inflation - which is running at its highest rate for more than five years.
The measure will cost the region's ratepayers an extra £980,000, funded through a proposed council tax increase.
However, Mr Jamieson said taxpayers would still have the second lowest police funding bill in the country after the rise.
He is also pressing ahead with previously announced plans to recruit 800 officers, 150 PCSOs, and 200 staff, funded through council tax and tapping cash reserves.
Mr Jamieson added: "Emergency call-handlers make life-and-death decisions - it is regretful that the Government fails to see them as 'frontline' workers.
"In the West Midlands we most certainly recognise the contribution all our staff make to keeping us safe."
Mr Jamieson, a former Labour MP and minister, said he also regretted being unable to boost pay in line with inflation for all force personnel, calling for more money from government to bridge that gap.
He added: "I hope by the time of the Budget, the Government will have put the funding in place to top up this increase to match inflation."
In a joint statement, issued alongside the commissioner's announcement, trades unions Unite and Unison welcomed the pay rise.