POLICE chiefs fear a two per cent pay rise for officers will only pile more financial pressure onto force budgets.

While the Government announcement of a pay increase – part of a broader move to end the public sector one per cent pay cap – was broadly welcomed, it came with no extra money meaning it will have be funded by forces themselves.

Iain Spittal, chief constable of Cleveland police, said: “Cops deserve a pay increase. But it must be sustainable, yesterday's decision has the potential to create significant in year pressure.”

Loading article content

Mr Spittal said he had recently met with ministers and stressed any increase needed to come with additional money.

He said: “On average, police officer pay makes up over 50 per cent of total force budgets.

“I will now be working with senior colleagues to establish how this additional cost is met.”

Ron Hogg, Durham’s Crime and Victims’ Commissioner welcomed the move saying it gave some recognition of the “extraordinary contribution” police officers made.

But he warned: “The Government needs to be aware that there are already severe pressures on police budgets.

“The force has lost 400 police officers since 2010 and I have called on them to ensure that police funding is adequate to meet the needs of Durham and Darlington.

“This increase only adds to the pressure on local police budgets.”

Stockton South MP Dr Paul Williams, who recently attended a rally in London with nurses from the region who were protesting over the public sector pay cap, said workers were still facing a pay cut in real terms because of rising inflation.

He said: “The pay freeze has gutted many areas of the public sector, costing this country many skilled and diligent workers.

“I’ll be holding this Government to account in Parliament and showing how important these public sector workers are to us all.’