At least 40 per cent of police officers would be worse off under reforms proposed by the Winsor review, with some officers losing up to £4,000 a year. However, some officers could see their pay increase by up to £2,000.

The review found that forces could save around £1bn through efficiencies but much of this would be used to fund night work and unsocial hours (between 8pm and 6am) for officers. However, even then there would be an overall saving of £485m over three years.

Pointing out that police are “comparatively well paid”, Winsor said that the hardest jobs done in the most demanding circumstances needed to be rewarded, meaning that the 57 per cent of officers who regularly work unsocial hours should be paid more.

The main savings will come through not increasing pay based on length of service, changing allowances and overtime, and freezing bonus schemes for superintendents and chief officers.

The Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Police officers should be rewarded fairly and reasonably for what they do. That is why I asked Tom Winsor to undertake one of the most comprehensive reviews of police pay for more than thirty years and make recommendations that are fair both to the taxpayer and police officers and staff.

“We struck a tough but fair settlement for the police in the spending review but with a record budget deficit, we are in extraordinary circumstances. With three quarters of the police budget spent on staff, changes to pay and conditions have to be part of efforts to protect police jobs, keep officers on the streets and cut crime.

“But this isn’t just about money, it’s about reform of our police service. To fight crime, we need a modern and flexible workforce that helps chief constables manage their resources, maximise officer time and improve the service to the public.”