Possible industrial action by police in Scotland has been averted following a 7% increase to pay and allowances was agreed for all officers.

The Scottish Police Authority said the agreement, which will be backdated to April 1 2023, recognises "the valuable contribution police officers make keeping people and communities across Scotland safe".

Off duty officers protested outside the Scottish Police Authority meeting on August 24 with the Scottish Police Federation stating that members should refuse to work outside their agreed hours. The federation's initial demand was for a pay rise of 8.5%.

The new agreement ensures a cumulative 12.35% increase in officer pay since April 1 2022, mirroring similar wage growth for the fire service and teachers.

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The agreement also includes a commitment to commission an independent review to look at police officer pay and benefits, recognising the unique role of police officers in society as well as looking at potential approaches to ensure appropriate wage growth within policing from 2025/26.

Martyn Evans, chairman of the Scottish Police Authority, said: "This is a challenging financial climate for policing and difficult choices are being taken to ensure we stay within the budget.

"Despite this, I am pleased we have now reached an agreement which recognises the valuable contribution of our police officers and the unique set of duties and requirements placed upon them. I am grateful to the Staff Side for their constructive dialogue."

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The new agreement was reached following extensive dialogue and negotiation through the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) which is made up of representatives from the Scottish Police Authority, Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS), SPF and the Scottish Chief Police Officers Staff Association (SCPOSA).

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Designate Fiona Taylor said: "I am extremely grateful to our officers for their professionalism, commitment to keeping people safe and the goodwill they demonstrate every day.

"Recognising and rewarding the hard work of officers is vital and I thank everyone who has contributed to reaching this agreement."

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: "I want to thank all those involved for working in good faith to achieve this agreement.

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"Our police officers perform an essential role keeping Scotland's communities safe and this fair pay deal recognises the hard work and valuable contribution they make daily as well as this Government's commitment to investing in policing.

"Police Scotland is a vital service, which is why, despite difficult financial circumstances due to UK Government austerity, we have increased police funding year-on-year since 2016-17, investing more than £11.6 billion since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013."

David Kennedy, SPF general secretary, said: "I appreciate this year's negotiations have been frustrating and have been compounded by the real cost-of-living pressures facing members.

"Whilst this agreement will not address all of those pressures, it is our hope that it will in some way mitigate them".

Mr Kennedy said that the federation will now start negotiations for 2024's pay deal.

News of the deal follows the announcement of a pilot scheme in the north east of Scotland where officers will no longer investigate crimes with “no associated threat, risk, harm or vulnerability” and no lines of inquiry.