A new body is being set up to tackle the issue of police pay and working conditions.

A meeting was held this week by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC), which is the Department of Home Affairs and the Police Federation.

It was agreed there to set up a working party to look at the issues.

The move comes after a Police Federation report suggested that officers were in a ‘desperate plight’ over pay and working conditions.

It included results of a survey of 144 member officers (62% of the overall force).

Eighty per cent of those surveyed felt that they were unfairly paid for the work they did.

It also showed that 89% of those surveyed felt that the Manx force did not offer good pay and conditions.

The Police Federation is the force’s equivalent of a union, which has been set out by law, as police officers are not allowed to join an actual trade union.

The survey was carried out between January 13 and January 26, as a result of conversations that have taken place over the last 16 months between the board of the federation and the Department of Home Affairs.

Detective Constable Richard Hewitt, chair of the Isle of Man Police Federation, warned of an ‘exodus of officers’ from the island’s force if the issues weren’t addressed.

He said: ‘This report shows that policing in the island is resting on a knife-edge. Only senior members of the DHA and wider government can change the downward trajectory of officer morale.

‘We call on them to do something quickly to show officers of all ranks that they care about their circumstances, the time to act is now in the best interests of the service and to ensure the island’s continued safety.’

Mr Hewitt told the Examiner: ‘I believe that this community deserves no less than an exceptional standard of policing and at the moment it is being given that on the cheap.’

Home Affairs Minister Jane Poole-Wilson said: ‘The Police Federation and the department meet regularly at the police consultative committee to discuss pay, terms and conditions.

‘This is appropriate forum to discuss concerns about pay. I value the work and commitment from the men and women in the Isle of Man Constabulary, who keep our island safe.

‘They work long hours, often in difficult conditions. I will be considering the results of the survey and will want to understand the options on how best to respond.’

When he talked to the Examiner before the working party was agreed, Mr Hewitt said he was not convinced by the government’s lack of movement on the matter.

He said: ‘The department has not progressed anything. Officers are retiring early because pay conditions aren’t good enough. It’s bitterly disappointing.

‘We don’t feel valued or appreciated by the department.’

Mrs Poole-Wilson claimed in an interview with Manx Radio that the survey came from a request from the police joint consultancy committee, however Mr Hewitt denies that.

He said: ‘The survey came about from officers approaching the board and asking what was going on with the proposed island living allowance.

‘So it was in response to what they asked, not what the DHA claims, which is that it was a request from it.’

The results ‘did not come as a surprise’ to the chair of the federation.

Mr Hewitt said that the board had ‘seen this coming’.

However, Mr Hewitt was not expecting some of the written responses submitted in the survey.

One unnamed officer said: ‘I hate to say this but I’m probably worth more to my family financially dead than I am alive. I hope it never comes to that.’

Mr Hewitt said: ‘It was a mixture of really deep sadness coupled with a deep frustration for the board of the federation but particularly from myself.’

The survey also revealed that 69% of those officers surveyed were relying on overtime to make ends meet.

Despite the opinions the majority shared on their pay and working conditions, 60% of the officers asked said that they were proud to be an officer in the Isle of Man.

A summary of the report said: ‘Many [officers] feel they have no reward or recognition for their unique responsibilities and the restrictions imposed on their industrial rights and their private lives.’

A spokesperson for the department said: ‘The department acknowledges that there are many police officers struggling with the cost of living, particularly those in the early stages of their career.

‘Currently, police pay in the Isle of Man is linked to UK pay scales.

‘This included a pay rise for 2022/23, which was equivalent to 8% for the lowest-paid officers.

‘The department is conscious that any discussions about pay should be seen in the context of the broader financial position of the government.’

The starting salary for a police constable in the Isle of Man is £24,780, with an increase of £1,900, or 8%, to the starting salary being implemented last August.