Female staff across Kent Police are earning on average 27.5 per cent less than men, according to new data.
This median gender pay gap was the second highest out of 44 police forces in England and Wales, who were required to release figures last week.
The figure was significantly higher than that of neighbouring Sussex Police [15 per cent] while only Derbyshire Constabulary posted a larger pay gap with 28.8 per cent.
But Kent Police has rejected suggestions the result should cause alarm, instead challenging the method by which the data was calculated [see panel].
Mark Gilmartin, Kent Police’s Director of Support Services, spoke out after all companies with 250 or more staff were legally required to release details of their pay gap last week.
He said: “All officers and employees of Kent Police are paid equally for the same positions, irrespective of gender.
“The fact is that there is a higher percentage of male officers than female, and in the same way – there are more women [support] staff than men.”
The framework for police officer pay is set nationally and differences are accounted for by the length of time a person has worked in their job.
Kent Police recorded a mean pay gap of 13.6 per cent.
The force employs 3,227 officers, 72.1 per cent of whom are men, and 2,388 [usually lower paid] police staff, 60.8 per cent of whom are women.
Figures also showed the lack of women in top roles, with females filling two out of 21 superintendent positions, ten out of 47 Chief Inspector roles and 37 out of 165 inspector roles.
There was also found to be a 24.4 per cent mean gender pay gap for bonuses staff received, with men taking an average £689 and women £521.
Mr Gilmartin added: “Female police officers are represented well in more senior ranks, however, there is more work to do.
“Addressing the disparity in representation at senior police officer levels will take time, but measures are already in place to help close the gap at Kent Police.
“We are committed to increasing the proportion of females in management and specialist roles.
“Kent Police continues to maximise opportunities for woman in higher graded roles, whilst offering internal support processes to actively encourage women to apply for developmental and promotional roles.”
Kent Police told the Times that Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott ‘had nothing to add’ and did not wish to comment.
How accurate are the figures?
The median is found by ranking individual salaries for both genders in ascending order and picking the middle value.
It was considered the most accurate comparison measure and was used widely in media when all companies of 250 or more staff released their data last week.
However, the measure has been criticised for not addressing the gap in similar job roles.
Kent Police also made reference to the mean average which, in this case, added together all of the salaries and divided by the number of people.
This found a 13.6 per cent pay gap.
Police diversity statistics are also revealed
JUST 6.2 per cent of Kent Police’s entire workforce is non-white British.
Diversity statistics, released alongside the gender pay gap report, found 179 out of 3227 officers was non-white British and 167 out of 2388 for police staff.
A pay gap of 5.3 per cent was found between white British staff and those of ‘any other ethnicity group’.
In addition, 4 per cent of police staff and officers have a self-declared disability.
A spokesman said: “These relatively small proportions, although in line with national figures, can make valid conclusions difficult in some areas of detailed analysis.”
Fewer female firefighters
A GENDER imbalance within Kent Fire and Rescue, where just 5 per cent of front line staff are women, has angered a union.
The Fire Brigades’ Union for the South East is publicising results of a Freedom of Information request, which shows women fill 42 out of 780 firefighter positions.
Kent Fire and Rescue said that 76 per cent of control room staff are female and have encouraged women interested in becoming a firefighter to find out more.