Northern Ireland

Justice minister urged to ‘take control’ of PSNI pay award

Police are appealing for information
Rank and file police should have had their pay award agreed last September, their union says. PICTURE: PA (Joe Giddens/PA)

The justice minister has been urged to “take control” of a pay award for police officers which their union says should have been signed off six months ago.

Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) chair Liam Kelly said PSNI rank and file were “becoming increasingly exasperated” that the their pay award had not been resolved.

The Pay and Remuneration Review Board (PRRB) recommended a 7% rise for officers, costing an estimated £20 million.

“Despite being allocated additional funds last month from the executive to rectify pressures and specifically deal with pay awards, there regrettably seems to be a lack of urgency in the Department of Justice,” he said.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long
Justice Minister Naomi Long (Liam McBurney/PA)

“As we approach three weeks before the end of the financial year, the pay recommendations for police officers have still not been formally confirmed nor ratified and PSNI have yet to be granted the requisite permission nor allocated the additional funds to enable them to pay it.”

Mr Kelly said if the funds for the pay award were not earmarked by next week then it would be at least the end of April before officers saw any uplift in their pay packets.

He said the matter “can be sorted out relatively quickly”.

“Officers have watched in exasperation as other public sector departments have quickly made offers to resolve their pay claims,” the PFNI chair said.

“Unlike our trade union colleagues, police officers don’t have pay negotiations and are legally precluded from taking any industrial actions to further their pay claim.”

Mr Kelly appealed for Justice Minister Naomi Long to “expeditiously take action to deal with this crucial unresolved matter”.

Mrs Long said she had considered and agreed the recommendations brought forward by the PRRB and have invited the PSNI to submit their pay remit.

“My officials are continuing to work at pace with the PSNI to progress this as quickly as possible in recognition of the hard work by PSNI officers,” she said. 

“I can assure those waiting on their pay award that I will not delay in assessing and approving the pay remit once I receive it.”