Women working for West Midlands Police are paid on average paid eight per cent less than their male counterparts, according to a new report published by the force.

The 'Gender Pay Gap' report says female staff at England's second-largest force have an hourly rate which is on average just over eight per cent less than men, compared to the national average of around 18 per cent.

Chief Constable Dave Thompson acknowledged the broad range of reasons for the disparity and said the force was working on these areas all the time - but admitted there was no quick fix.

The force said the reasons for the difference between the pay were based on a number of issues including more men than women in higher graded/paid positions.

Its research also said that, within all ranks and grades, men typically had longer service and were therefore higher up the pay range for that grade.

More men are working full time in the force which means they have greater access to additional payments such as weekend and shift working and standby payments.

Finally, the Gender Pay Gap report says there are more males in policing nationally and within the West Midlands, where almost 57.8 per cent of the total workforce are male.

With regards to police community support officers, the figures showed there was no gender pay gap because there were equal numbers of men and women in post, appointed to a set salary not based on length of service or other criteria.

Mr Thompson said: "We aim to ensure people are treated fairly, whether this is about the way we treat the public in the provision of our services to them or our officers and staff in the way they are treated at work.

"We are pleased that our reported gender pay gap is under half the national average.

"We work very hard to have equal pay, through systems, processes and decision making across all sectors of our workforce.

"However, we do have a gender pay gap and we've identified the main issues for this as being longer-serving male officers and staff in the higher two quartiles of the pay structure and a higher percentage of male staff employees in full-time roles accessing additional payments.

"We know that working on these areas will take time and there is no immediate quick fix.

"But we are confident our future plans for recruitment and resourcing, promotion and talent management and reviewing terms and conditions will incrementally narrow this gap and ensure a fairer future for all who work for us."

West Midlands Police said it had now introduced a number of initiatives including job evaluation schemes and recruitment policies which are free from gender bias and which support getting women into senior roles.

It is also offering support to help women stay in work after changes to personal circumstances and target promotions while senior leaders will act as role models for aspiring future women leaders.