Police officers head to high court over pay-rise battle

Police officers have begun a high court challenge over the government’s decision not to back-date a pay rise.

The judicial review application has been brought by the Police Federation, representing Britain’s officers.

A full hearing is expected to take place, starting at 10:30 BST in London today, before Lord Justice Keene and Mr Justice Treacy.

Lawyers from the Police Federation have said that police forces around the country had a “legitimate expectation” that they would receive the 2.5 per cent pay rise recommended by an independent arbitration tribunal.

The government’s decision not to back-date the pay rise has led to widespread anger among British officers.

Prime minister Gordon Brown and home secretary Jacqui Smith though have both claimed that staging the pay increase is essential in maintaining economic stability.

The police have stated that not back-dating the agreed 2.5 per cent pay rise to the beginning of the financial year in September makes the deal actually worth 1.9 per cent annually instead.

In January, the Police Federation’s chairwoman Jan Berry accused the home secretary of showing a “total lack of respect” towards the police force.

“The home secretary has broken her promise. She has not played fair with the police,” Ms Berry said.

She also claimed the relationship between the police and the government had broken down.

“Prime minister, and I do not say this lightly, you have broken that trust,” she said.

However, ministers have maintained that the increase is in line with inflation targets, principally in line with the government’s two per cent public sector pay limit.