Police officers face pay freeze

Police commissioner Peter Marshall.
Police commissioner Peter Marshall.

Police commissioner Peter Marshall has confirmed officers are facing a pay freeze.

Wage negotiations begin again tomorrow and he said that officers' pay would not be cut, but he refused to rule out no increase. 

However,  a pay freeze for officers would mean an effective cut as wages would not rise in line with inflation.

''Police officers will not be disadvantaged and I give that personal undertaking. In relation to pay and leave the same will apply.  At the very least there will be no disadvantage to the officers,'' Marshall said.

But when he was pressed by reporters about inflationary increases he said:  ''I'm talking about their current salary.''

''Certainly, we'll have that discussion...we'll just wait and see. I made the point that there will be no disadvantage to police in terms of their current arrangements. What will [come] out of tomorrow's discussions...will remain to be seen," he said.

Marshall insisted there are no proposals to close police stations.

But he added: ''We reserve the right as part of normal business to consider the appropriateness of certain stations as we go forward.

''It's ongoing, it would be remiss of me in the context of the budget that I have...with hundreds of police stations, to not be looking. But at this stage there are no plans whatsoever, categorically, to close any police stations.''

He refused to say if competency service increments (CSIs) are safe.

Earlier this year police projected CSI increases would cost $42.5 million a year for the next four years, and a 3 per cent wage increase would cost around $75 million a year.

Marshall appeared in front of MPs at Parliament's law and order select committee this morning, alongside police minister Anne Tolley, today.

Tolley refused to answer questions about officers' pay,  from Labour MPs Kris Faafoi and Phil Goff ,while negotiations are ongoing.

She also refused to say if  pay makes up 70 per cent of the police budget.

Faafoi says Tolley used the dodge used the ''Dr Seuss defence to dodge questions.''

"She simply 'could-not' or 'would-not' answer the questions put to her.

He said police face ''extreme pressure'' on staffing and resources.

Goff claims police face $24m in increased costs and a $15m shortfall.

But speaking to reporters after the hearing Marshall rejected Goff's figures.

The force announced last month that 126 non-sworn posts will be cut, but Marshall confirmed that due to unfilled vacancies 20 people will lose their jobs.

Police received no increase in May's Budget.

New police graduates start on a salary package worth about $58,000, rising to just over $76,000 after five years.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor has suggested that pay for existing staff could be frozen  and new recruits employed on lower pay to make savings.


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The Dominion Post