90 days from today is Thu, 19 September 2024

Avon & Somerset Police Federation

#PayOurPolice - Police Officers can no longer afford to survive, how can that ever be right, or considered ok?

16 June 2022

Blog from Avon and Somerset Police Chair Mark Loker on the shocking state of police pay:

This week I heard the story of a young police officer who has seen their energy bill rise from £85 a month to £125. A single mother of a young boy.

She is now faced with having to access charities to clothe and feed her son. A once proud, loving mother and enthusiastic diligent police officer is reduced to effectively having to beg just to find the basics to support her child...

How can this be right?

She asked for my advice, where she could get support and what she should do. All I wanted to do was say to her ‘it will be alright’, or ‘it will get better’, I couldn’t as it would have been a lie to do so.

She feels a failure for not being able to provide for her child by doing a job that she loves. She sacrifices herself through loyal service and cannot even afford to feed her son.

There is something seriously wrong with a country, the 5th largest economy in the world, where a Government sees profit to shareholders as more important than supporting those who are on the lowest salaries.

Police officers’ starting pay is just 30p above the minimum living wage, yet we are expected to run cars to get to work as forces close stations and centralise infrastructure – no ifs, no buts, just do, regardless of the consequence.

We are expected to accept restrictions on our private lives, even down to who we can choose as a partner and assaults on officers rising exponentially.

The police are relied upon to maintain society, community and civilisation and yet in return we are held in contempt by Government.

Police officers can no longer afford to survive, how can that ever be right, or considered ok?

I have always said, mostly in jest, that being a police officer will never afford you wealth or health... I am now finding my words coming truer as each day passes.

We are not alone, we know this, this is felt by families across the country, but police officers are not allowed to strike, we have infringements on our private lives.

We have the IOPC and our Professional Standards Department considering intruding further into our private lives by routinely interrogating our private mobile devices and at the same time we are expected to be beyond corruption and there is wonder why being a Police Officer is no longer considered a career option anymore.

MP’s, elected officials, have seen their salaries rise from £64,000 to £85,000 in the past 10 years, an alleged period of austerity. We have seen salaries in policing reduced by 20%.

We have a weak independent pay review body coerced into their decisions by the Home Secretary and even then ignored. Yet seemingly self-serving MPs have a binding pay review body that afforded them a £2,212 pay increase this year.

I have said before that for too long now Police Officers mental and physical health has been eroded, for too long police numbers have been eroded and for far too long.

Police officers' recognition through pay has been eroded and now we are seeing Officers driven into debt and barely surviving.

For anyone who wonders why policing is broken, why police officers are broken? This is why.

I used to talk to officers who hated the thought of leaving the police, who loved ‘the job’ I now only speak to officers who cannot wait to get out of policing and hate ‘the job’. There is only one place to lay the blame for that…

I just hope you are listening Home Secretary.