90 days from today is Thu, 19 September 2024

Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Officers Should Not Have To Choose Between Heating And Eating

9 March 2023

“The police have been financially penalised for over a decade, through budget cuts, removal of our pensions and degradation of our pay – enough is enough.”

Avon and Somerset Police Federation Chair Mark Loker was speaking as the national Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) called for a minimum 17% pay increase for officers.

PFEW called for the pay rise after an independent study revealed police pay has lagged almost 20% behind inflation since 2000. This makes the police an outlier among protective services workers, public sector workers and all workers. The report found all those groups saw their pay rise in real terms over this period – by 1%, 14%, and 5% respectively. Additionally, the research shows MPs’ salaries saw a 4% rise in total over the period.

Mark said: “Policing is one of the most demanding and high-risk professions. We police by consent; we are of the people, for the people.

“Turn on your TV and I would bet that at some time today a programme relating to policing will be aired, whether that’s Happy Valley, Crimewatch, Morse or just the news, policing is a fascination. But more than that, it’s an absolute necessity; society would crumble without a police force.

“That is why I am left disheartened, wondering why our Government has purposely chosen to decimate a British institution. They disrespect every person in our country with the contempt they show policing.

“We have been financially penalised for over a decade, through budget cuts, removal of our pensions and degradation of our pay – enough is enough.

“We have restrictions on our private lives unlike any other emergency service. We have our rest days cancelled without any ability to say no, we are expected to be on duty 24 hours a day, and for this we are shown no respect by this Government.

“The Government believes they can do this as we cannot strike. They rely on us to enforce their laws, to protect them in their houses and to be the emergency service that is called upon in every circumstance. We bolster social services, the health service and support other emergency services when they are at threat or risk. We swear an oath to protect and prevent all offences against people and property. But not only that, we fill the gaps of our emergency worker colleagues who do have the right to strike.

“Police officers are not greedy. They do not expect more than any other member of society, but we do expect fairness. Does anyone think it is right for a police officer to use a food bank to feed their family, or not be able to afford to clothe their children? A police officer shouldn’t have to choose between heating their home or filling up their car. I do not think that is right and I implore anyone who agrees with me to write to your MP, speak out about this and please support our right to fairness and equality.

“I genuinely fear for the future of our police service in England and Wales if we continue to be ignored by this Government.”