A project has launched looking at the pay and conditions of police staff across West Midlands Police.

From how roles are evaluated, what they are paid, to the allowances people receive – the project marks the first real review of the force’s pay structure since 2005, when WMP adopted so-called  widebanding, like many other police and public sector organisations. The review is expected to take between 12 – 18 months.

Over the past 13 years, times have changed and so have the roles performed by for force’s more than 3,000 staff. There are staff members working as investigators, alongside detectives, performing specialist roles in forensics and intelligence, working in dedicated departments such as firearms or counter terrorism and performing crucial roles in our contact centres and the many other supporting departments.

“The nature of the work and hours police staff do has changed dramatically in recent years and it is only right that we take the opportunity to look at our structure and whether our approach to pay is still fit for purpose in modern times, in the same way that officer conditions have been reviewed nationally,” said Chief Constable Dave Thompson.

The project aims to bring historic processes up to date by looking at all aspects of how a job is evaluated in terms of skills, responsibility, seniority and pay, the allowances people receive and whether the comparative value of roles is fair. The intention is that any new approach will recognise the skills and competences needed now, and in the future, while offering a better way of rewarding staff that acknowledges performance and that an individual’s contribution is more important than time served or hours worked.

“We have to address the fact that the force has evolved in a way that our pay and conditions have not,” added Chief Constable Thompson.

“In some cases we have staff working alongside officers with the same role being performed but vast differences in pay and conditions – equally there are instances of staff being able to claim allowances or overtime which sees them earn more than their officer colleagues.

“It’s a fine balance, particularly when the pay and conditions of officers are set nationally, but this project seeks to ensure we are paying our people fairly for what they do.

“We know any project of this nature can lead to unease or concern with colleagues and while it may not be what people want to hear, on a personal level, we have to accept that it is long overdue and is the right thing to do. Let me be clear, this is all about modernising and acting fairly, it is not a back door way of addressing budgets, reducing our workforce or cutting our costs.”

WMP is working with unions to ensure effective communication and consultation as the project gets underway, but no significant changes – if any – are expected before 2019.

*Staff pay is currently determined by a national pay spine agreed by the Police Staff Council which represents Chief Constables and the Home Secretary of England and Wales and the employees of chief constables and police and crime commissioners. The basic pay of each individual consists of either a single point or a scale of points selected from the national spine. There are five A-E Wide Salary Bands covering the Spinal Column Points (SCP) of the national pay scale plus four management bands. Bands cover a number of spinal column points which allows for the individual to progress through the band, subject to satisfactory performance and attendance until they reach the top of the band or the progression bar for their job role. Job roles can be either evaluated as covering the full band, just the lower part of the band, to the progression bar or straddle across two bands.