A PAY freeze for police has been branded a 'complete and utter kick in the teeth' by the North Wales Police Federation's secretary.

Plans for the bitterly opposed pay freeze for police officers was confirmed by the Government in a written ministerial statement to the Commons on Wednesday.

In it, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that police officers earning more than £24,000 would be hit by the freeze.

Those earning less will be given an annual rise of £250.

She said: "As set out at the Spending Review (2020), there will be a pause to headline pay rises for the majority of public sector workforces in 2021-22.

"This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the form of reduced hours, suppressed earnings growth and increased redundancies, whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects.

"This approach will protect public sector jobs and investment in public services, prioritising the lowest paid, with those earning less than £24,000 (full-time equivalent) receiving a minimum £250 increase.

"The pause ensures we can get the public finances back onto a sustainable path after unprecedented Government spending on the response to Covid-19."

Mark Jones, secretary and treasurer of the North Wales Police Federation, said: “The announcement comes as a complete and utter kick in the teeth to the thousands of brave, dedicated and hard working police officers across the country, but particularly in north Wales.

“Over the last 18 months, police officers have come to work, day-in-day-out, to protect and serve the public.

"And in that time, countless officers have been attacked where Covid has been weaponised towards them.

"Our police have been on the frontline, doing everything they can, in the most challenging circumstances to protect the NHS and the wider communities.

“This decision on a pay equates to a pay cut in reality and it is something we cannot let lie.

"Those decision makers on this matter should hang their heads in shame.”

He said a National Council meeting for the Police Federation is to take place today to discuss what action the federation is to take in response.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales which represents rank and file officers, said the pay system was "not fit for purpose".

He said: "Police officers have been on the front line of this pandemic for 18 months and will now see firefighters and local government workers in England given a 1.5% increase while they receive nothing. This is further evidence that not all public services are treated equally by this Government, and some are valued more than others."

He said the national federation will be consulting members on how to push for changes to the system for setting police pay.

"The current pay system for policing is not fit for purpose. We are forced to enter into an inherently unfair process from the start, with the odds weighted firmly in favour of the Government where, it seems, a decision has already been made when they set the parameters for the pay review body.

"It is now essential that we review this process and look to find an alternative. A solution that has the best interests of police officer pay at heart. We will be seeking the views of our members and calling an urgent meeting with our 43 federation branches from across England and Wales to discuss our next steps."