Plans for targeted bonuses for hard-to-fill policing roles could be divisive and cause ill-feeling amongst officers, Essex Police Federation has warned.

The chairman of the federation, Steve Taylor, claimed proper research on whether these payments are necessary must be carried out before such a programme is brought in by the Government and police chiefs.

The Government has told the Police Pay Review Body to consider targeted bonuses for hard-to-fill roles, like detectives, firearms and custody officers, for the 2018/19 financial year.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has written to the body to say they must consider the issue.

It sounds similar to Special Priority Payments – which were for hard-to-fill roles and were axed by the Winsor Review into police pay in 2012.

According to the Home Office, chief officers want “time-limited, targeted payments to address specific recruitment and retention pressures” in policing.

It added in the letter: “The Government has adopted a more flexible approach to public sector pay, to address any areas of skills shortages and in return for improvements to public sector productivity.”

Mr Taylor admitted he does agree with the concept of bonuses, but warned it must be implemented effectively.

He said: “In a sense, we already have targeted pay as our firearms officers receive a bonus. And it wasn’t that long ago that different roles received different bonuses for what they do.

“So we are not against moving in that direction, but it needs to be evidenced, it needs to be understood and it needs to be fair, because without those three things it creates division and ill-feeling amongst officers.”

Mr Taylor said officers deserve a far higher pay rise in 2018 than the one per cent they received this year, but that given the economy, he had to be realistic.

He added: “In the past we’ve submitted evidenced, reasonable pay requests, working up towards the three per cent figure, and as the work goes on this year for next year’s submission, I would be surprised if it wasn’t something similar, if not bigger.

“What we cannot accept, is another gimmick from the Government like we had this year, where we had a one per cent pay rise and then a one per cent gimmicky, un-financed, un-pensionable one per cent addition.

“We hope that our pay submission, which we are confident will be well-evidenced as it has been in the past, will receive a better audience and that we will see meaningful increases in our officers’ pay.”