WILTSHIRE Police cut its gender pay gap by almost 50 per cent between 2018 and 2019, new figures show.

The new report, which shows a snapshot taken on March 31, 2019, shows a 10.96 per cent gap, taken from median average salaries.

This is a significant decrease from 20.19 per cent at the same point in 2018.

The reasons for the reduction were a number of long-serving male police officers in the top pay brackets taking retirement, more men joining the at the bottom pay band and recruitment drives to attract women to apply.

Chief constable Kier Pritchard said he was pleased with the report’s findings. “I am really pleased with the news of the reduction in our median gender pay gap, it’s testament to the hard work being done to attract more women to join us as officers and staff, to retain them and offer opportunities for career progression.

“Our Positive Action team is working hard introducing gender-neutral language across recruitment processes, encouraging more females through selection processes, raising awareness of our family-friendly policies and better awareness of promotions.

“I believe we are on the right track.”

However, women continue to outweigh men in police staff roles at a ratio of 61:39, while the ratio of men employed officers was 66:34.

As of April 2017, any public sector body with more than 250 employees must publish annual reports on its gender pay gap.

The report shows the percentage difference between the mean and average hourly earnings of men and women in the workplace and is different from equal pay.

However, if one gender dominates higher-paid roles, then it creates a gender pay gap.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon police and crime commissioner, welcomed the report but pointed out that more could be done to attract women to join the police and be encouraged into senior roles.

He said: “Traditionally policing was a male-dominated profession, so to see Wiltshire Police maintaining an even gender balance across its staff and officers is positive.

"There is a lot of work going on to ensure equal opportunities are offered and that should be celebrated for contributing to the reduction in the median pay gap.”

Nationally, the median gender pay gap for all full-time and part-time employees, as reported in 2019 was 17.3 per cent, a reduction of 0.5 per cent from the previous year.