Police claim victory on overtime pay

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The Independent Online

Police Officers claimed victory yesterday after resisting attempts by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, to drastically cut overtime pay.

After months of negotiations, a majority of police forces voted to accept a revised package of pay and conditions that allow overtime rates to remain the same.

Mr Blunkett, who had pledged to end inefficient and outdated working practices, had said cutting overtime rates, from time-and-a-third to time-and-a-fifth, was an essential part of the deal.

But conciliation talks at the independent Police Negotiation Board sawthe Home Office and chief constables offer a package that retained officers' current overtime rates.

The Police Federation, which represents 126,000 frontline officers, claimed the revised pay as a victory. Although the pay deal was not unanimously supported by members across England and Wales, a "clear majority" had accepted the offer, said a spokesman.

A Home Office spokes-woman denied it was a U-turn and insisted the Government would achieve the same savings by telling managers to reduce the amount of overtime by 15 per cent over the next three years.

Mr Blunkett described the settlement as "the most radical reform of police pay and conditions ever".

He said that the changes would introduce more flexible practices by enabling part-time work and prevent officers facing disciplinary charges retiring on health grounds.

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