The Police Federation has today lost its high court battle against the government's decision not to implement a 2.5 per cent pay rise in full.
The legal action was brought after officers claimed the decision by home secretary Jacqui Smith was unlawfully.
Ms Smith previously announced that she would not backdate the pay rise to September 2007, effectively reducing it to 1.9 per cent.
Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation said after today's ruling: "We are extremely disappointed with the decision of the court.
"However, we take heart that we have won the moral case. This has been demonstrated by the tremendous support shown by the public and politicians of all political parties who have voiced their anger and concern at the way this government has treated police officers across the UK."
Mr McKeever said he was unhappy that the government could "impose whatever pay award they wish on police officers".
He added a high-level meeting would be held on Thursday to decide whether an appeal would be lodged.
"We are police officers, we want to fight crime and criminals, we don't want to fight the Home Office and the home secretary. We should never have been put in this position by the Home Office in the first place," he added.
In contrast, Ms Smith said she welcomed the court's decision today.
"This was a difficult decision but one I stand by. It was important to ensure that pay settlements are affordable and consistent with government pay policy in the interests of keeping the cost of living under control for families across the country," she said.
"I recognise the vital and hard work which police officers carry out every day and believe that effective pay arrangements for police officers are essential for a modern police service which delivers high standards of community safety and security to the public.
"I want to work closely now with the Police Federation and we are already discussing this year's pay round and pushing for a multi-year deal from 2008 to ensure police officers and their families get pay certainty in future."