The chair of the Wiltshire Police Federation has said the government is using the police as an “easy target to offer ridiculously low pay”.
Phil Matthews’ comments come after rail workers and barristers have gone on strike in recent weeks amid high-profile disputes with the government over pay and working conditions.
Mr Matthews claims that Boris Johnson’s government is “penalising police officers who have no right to take industrial action”, adding: “The government will go down in history as the government that destroyed policing.”
He was writing a blog post as part of the Police Federation’s #PayOurPolice campaign, launched in May to call for a “huge hike” in the pay of staff amid the cost of living crisis.
Mr Matthews said: “It is high time the Government made recompense for the 10 year’s plus of using the police as an easy target to offer ridiculously low pay increases and penalising police officers who have no right to take industrial action.
“Our police officers are policing the strikes from other agencies whilst they stand and worry about their own fuel bill, or whether they can afford to grab a meal deal during a 10- or 12-hour shift.
“These are the people our public ask to protect them, to stand in the way of harm and to be the one you call when all other options have failed.
“At the same time we are expected to uphold amazingly strict standards of professional conduct and treat those that will harm us with respect and courtesy. All of this whilst under extreme financial pressure and stress.
“This Government will go down in history as the Government that destroyed policing. We only ask what is fair and what is right. Let us live.”
It comes after a survey released earlier this year found that 73 per cent of Wiltshire Police respondents were dissatisfied with their overall pay, and 73 per cent said that morale within the force was low.
92 per cent said they did not feel respected by the government.
Responding, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We are grateful to our police officers who work tirelessly to keep our streets safe and put criminals behind bars. To further support them, we are providing up to £16.9billion in 2022/23 for the policing system, including for our 20,000 additional officers.
“It is the role of the Police Remuneration Review Body to consider and make recommendations to the Government on the appropriate level of pay and allowances. We value their independent and expert advice and give very careful consideration to their recommendations.”