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Nicola Sturgeon: Police will receive ‘fair and affordable’ pay increase

Officers will take action from Friday (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Officers will take action from Friday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has said police officers will receive a “fair and affordable” pay increase, amid a dispute which is seeing officers withdraw their “goodwill”.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF), which represents officers, is due to take action from 5pm on Friday which it describes as its most overt in 100 years.

While officers in Scotland are prohibited by law from taking industrial action, from Friday officers will not start their shifts early or take radio equipment home when their duty ends.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross raised the issue at First Ministers Questions on Thursday, saying the SPF had described the current pay offer as “derisory”.

Scottish Independence referendum statement
Nicola Sturgeon said the police budget was increasing (Lesley Martin/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said there were more police officers per head of population in Scotland than in England, and the policing budget was due to rise by £40.5 million this year.

She said: “There is a pay negotiation underway. I would fully expect the Scottish Police Federation and any trade union and professional organisation to stand up for their members during a pay negotiation.”

The Justice Secretary had held “constructive” discussions with the SPF in recent days, she said.

Ms Sturgeon continued: “I hope all sides will continue to work together constructively to ensure that a fair and affordable pay increase can be agreed for our police officers.

“Our police officers do deserve it and we will continue to value policing and give it the priority it deserves.”

Mr Ross responded: “The First Minister’s on a different planet.

“She’s saying it was a constructive meeting between her Justice Secretary and the federation, and the federation said this morning that their members are now taking the most overt demonstration of action in more than 100 years.”

He said the Government had taken its “eye off the ball” and the justice sector was no longer a priority.

The First Minister said the impact of the SPF action was a matter for the chief constable, who said it would be effectively managed in the short term.