90 days from today is Thu, 19 September 2024

Avon & Somerset Police Federation

'Pay Officers Fairly For Uniquely Challenging Role'

11 January 2023

A shocking 87% of Avon and Somerset Police officers feel financially worse off now than they did five years ago.

And one in five officers (21%) ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ have enough money to cover all their essentials, new research has shown.

Officers are stressed about how they will pay the bills, according to new figures from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) 2022 Pay and Morale Survey.

Eight in ten respondents (82%) said they are ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their overall remuneration, and half said they were suffering from poor morale following another below-inflation pay rise.

Last year police officers across England and Wales were given an average of a 5% pay rise – but this was way below inflation booming now at more than 10%. Household bills are rising sharply and over the past 12 years police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 25%.

784 officers from Avon and Somerset responded to the survey, published this month.

Nine in ten officers (93%) said they do not feel respected by the Government, and 69% said that they would not recommend joining the police to others. 62% said that they did not feel valued within the police.

58% of officers said they were rarely or never able to take their full rest break entitlement and worryingly two in five (19%) had suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention as a result of work-related violence in the last year.

14% of respondents from Avon and Somerset Constabulary told researchers they intend to resign from the police service either ‘within the next two years’ or ‘as soon as [they] can’.

Mark Loker, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: "These figures are stark and cause for proper concern. It can never be right that our Police Officers almost never have enough money to pay for essentials, this situation is a disgrace and a stain due to the greed and contempt of government for our amazing membership.

"However, proper and fair pay for the Police is not about greed, or demand for more than is deserved, it is about proper, fair and equitable remuneration that recognises the dangerous job we do and the restrictions on our private lives. Things are getting worse, not better. It is tragic in this day and age that anyone needs to use food banks to feed their family, but it is nothing short of scandalous that the ones that protect us are in that position, that’s the reality. No other job in this country has the same level of risk or restriction and that must be recognised and can only be recognised through fair and proper pay.

"Consider this, some new recruits take home just 15p an hour more than the basic living wage. This sticks in the throat when you hear government ministers say how much they support our Police Officers, support needs to be more than kind words, especially when they are pocketing their inflation busting pay rises that they simply have to accept.

"It is often never considered the impact the restriction that is placed on Officers and their private lives, it can easily be said that article 8 ECHR rights do not apply to Police Officers, especially when you hear about watchdogs and Chief Officers wanting to interrogate Officers private digital devices - Met Police officers’ phones could be checked for racist and sexist posts (telegraph.co.uk). We give everything to our jobs and only ask for fairness in return.

"For too many years Police Officers have been treated with contempt by Government with our pay having effectively been cut by 20% in real terms over the past decade. Ministers must now show they are serious about their commitment to policing, by paying police officers fairly for the uniquely challenging, inherently dangerous job that we do.

"This evidence speaks louder than words."