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Justice Minister pledges to progress PSNI pay award

Stormont Justice Minister Naomi Long has pledged to progress a pay award for police officers “as quickly as possible”.

An increase of 7% has been recommended for Police Service of Northern Ireland officers by the Pay and Renumeration Review Board.

In a statement on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Ms Long said she has invited the PSNI to submit their pay remit.

“My officials are continuing to work at pace with the PSNI to progress this as quickly as possible in recognition of the hard work by PSNI officers,” she said.

“I can assure those waiting on their pay award that I will not delay in assessing and approving the pay remit once received from the PSNI.”

Earlier PSNI Chief Constable Jon Boutcher told the Northern Ireland Policing Board that he cannot say when officers will receive their pay award.

Jon Boutcher said he understands the money for the pay uplift is with the Department of Justice but he does not yet know when it will get to the officers.

He told the Northern Ireland Policing Board he was due to speak with Ms Long on Thursday afternoon.

“The organisation should know, and I’m sure they do, that I will be relentless in making sure that 7% is landed, and the signs are positive because the money has been allocated to justice that I believe covers that,” he said.

“But I can’t answer your question about when they’re going to get it because that all now sits with justice.

“I’m doing everything that we have needed to do to make sure that transitions into cash in their pockets and in their wage packet.”

He also described the fact that money for pay uplifts has only been allocated for one year as “crazy”.

“This is the same for all public services and this is the challenge for everybody here,” he said.

“There is no such provision for next year. I don’t know the legals on this but you can’t pay a pay award one year and then take it away the next. This is crazy.

“That is something that I know each of the ministers will be wrestling with.

Liam Kelly interview
Liam Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, said the organisation is looking forward to a resolution on the issue of pay (Peter Morrison/PA)

“We’ve got to make sure that our voice is heard in addressing the gaps in funding for the public services here.”

In a statement, Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the organisation is looking forward to a resolution on the issue of pay.

“Further to my media release earlier today, I welcome the statement from the Justice Minister on the Justice NI ‘X’ account and now look forward to a speedy resolution,” he said.

“What’s important here is that our officers receive their long overdue pay award, backdated to 1st September 2023, at the earliest possible date.

“We sincerely hope that the associated bureaucracy in finalising this matter between PSNI, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Finance can be progressed and concluded as expeditiously as possible.”