The Police and the Black Country
by Mick Pearson
Pay and Conditions
Policing has always been a tricky area to set a rate of pay.
Too little pay may lead to the temptation of corruption, or reduce
the standard of officers, and possibly a high turnover in staff.
Policing was (and in many cases still is) a fairly hard physical
job, not compared to mining or working in a foundry, but the dangers
and risks were there. In 1890 the Police Act guaranteed a pension
after 25 years service, or 15 years if retiring on ill-health
Police strikes were not unheard of, and in the late 1880s the
question of a police union was high on the agenda. Rank and file
officers seemed to be in favour of a union. A Federation was suggested,
but dismissed by officers in 1913 when only 100 out of 21000 forms
were returned, which invited officers to join a Federation. The
situation was resolved in 1919 when the Police Federation was
founded by the Police Act of that year. Every officer from Constable
to Inspector was automatically a member.
Industrial action was prohibited, as was membership of a union
or similar body outside the police force. Representation across
the ranks was equal, to avoid one rank dominating