‘PATHETIC’ pay rises to public sector workers will see further cuts to services for people in Oxfordshire, it has been warned.

Chief constable Francis Habgood said the decision by the Government to scrap the seven-year public sector pay cap would put financial pressure on ‘already-stretched budgets’ for Thames Valley Police.

Mr Habgood, spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said without better 'real-terms' funding protection from the Home Office, a pay rise of above one per cent will ‘inevitably' impact the force’s ability to deliver policing services and keep its current staffing levels. The warning comes after the Government announced yesterday the pay cap will be axed from next year.

Police constable Craig O’Leary, chairman of Thames Valley Police federation, told the Oxford Mail the announcement had caused 'a lot of upset' among officers, adding it was a missed opportunity for the Government to ‘repair' its relationship with the police.

PC O’Leary said: “We have police officers bearing the brunt of public sector austerity and it cannot be right. At what point does it change? It’s a crazy situation.

“With numbers getting smaller it’s a reality we cannot deliver the service that we have always delivered in the past because of the budget constraints.

“The force has been trying to trim away as much fat as we can, that’s been done.

“There’s not much more fat you can trim and as a consequence you have to consider services.”

PC O’Leary questioned MPs' pay rise by 1.4 per cent announced in February, on top of 10 per cent rise in 2015.

He said other forces recruiting meant Thames Valley was no longer an ‘automatic choice’ for people to join because of the cost of living here.

And it is understood officers may now not respond to ‘damage only’ car crashes due to dwindling numbers.

Over the past six years, more than £87m has been saved and further budget cuts of £21.2m over the next three years take the total £108m since 2011. Police will receive a one per cent one-off ‘non-consolidated’ bonus on top of their basic pay rise of one per cent for 2017/18. The settlements will be met out of existing budgets and will be put in place immediately.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady branded the increase for police ‘pathetic’.

Not all public sector workers will receive the higher pay rise. Ian McKendrick, of Oxfordshire Unison Health Branch, said the one per cent cap on pay rises for nurses in the county were ‘laughable’.

Mr McKendrick said the pay rise did not go far enough to combat the pay cuts over previous years.

He added: “People will find it laughable to be honest.

“In Oxfordshire we have got a massive recruitment problem to do with cost of living. This does nothing to suggest anything will happen to resolve that crisis.”