POLICE campaigners have hit out at a Government move to slash starting pay for new recruits.
Home Secretary Theresa May has approved a radical shake-up of officers’ pay that will see salaries for new starters slashed by £4,000 to £19,000.
Stephen Matthews, chairman of the Cleveland Police Federation, which is the union for officers at Cleveland Police, said it will see new recruits being paid less than the average wage for a PCSO which is between £21,000 and £25,000.
He told the Mail: “I’m disappointed and somewhat confused on what the intention is. They want the best candidates, but they don’t want to pay for it.
“Average PCSO pay is between £21,000 and £25,000 as they get weekend and shift allowance, but with police officers it’s incorporated in the wage.
“We would be better off to be a PCSO than a police officer.”
He added: “I think the Government has been cynical and they are using the economic situation to their benefit.
“It is sad they have decided that is all a police officer is worth.
“It is going to discourage some decent people from different backgrounds from applying.”
The shake-up was masterminded by Tom Winsor following an 18-month review, and Mrs May said the changes were part of a programme to “modernise police pay and conditions so that they are fair to both officers and the taxpayer”.
Following the recommendations of the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT), she also approved plans to bring in a national on-call allowance of £15-a-session for officers sent out of their area to help other forces.
But a special bonus - known as a competence-related threshold payment (CRTP) - will be phased out over the next three years.
Mr Winsor said the current pay system was based on a 1920s design of rewarding years of service and should be replaced with one that recognised merit.
Among the 121 recommendations, the report also said there should be higher pay for more demanding jobs, pay linked to skills and performance rather than length of service, and an allowance for working unsocial hours, defined as outside 8am to 6pm.
It also called for the pension age for officers to be raised to 60.
The announcement comes after the Mail revealed figures showing the number of police officers under the age of 26 has fallen by almost half nationally in two years, and Cleveland has one of the hardest hit forces.
Cleveland Police saw a 74 per cent fall in the number of police officers between 2009 and 2012.