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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Police officers left choosing between feeding their family or heating their home

3 March 2022

Some police officers are having to choose between feeding their family or turning their heating on, the Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation has said.

Mark Loker was commenting on the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) 2021 Pay and Morale Survey, which showed that 43% of respondents from Avon and Somerset Police worried about their finances every day.

In addition, 94% of the respondents said they did not currently feel respected by the Government, 84% felt that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, and 11% reported never or almost never having enough money to cover all their essentials.

Mark said: “In 12 years we’ve not seen a proper pay reward to police officers. Over the past 10 years there’s an 18% pay drop in real terms. We’ve seen an increase in National Insurance, we’ve seen an increase in the cost of living. We’re finding police officers now having to choose between turning the heating on at home or feeding their family. That can never be right.

“I’ve just represented a police officer who has had to sell their car because they can’t afford to run a private vehicle. We’ve had to negotiate on their behalf to have them moved to a station that they can walk to.

“We’re seeing an increase in what is expected of our police officers, an increase in stress, and an increase in officers getting assaulted. In Avon and Somerset, four of our officers are assaulted every day.

“Police officers are coming into the service starting at £21,000 a year, which is just above the national living wage. For a job as difficult as policing, there has to be an increase.

“We’re asking the Home Office to recognise the difficulties in policing. We have no recognised negotiating body. The Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) makes recommendations, but there is no onus on the Government to actually listen to them.

“Every year the MPs find enough money in the budget to give themselves a pay rise. We see it in the papers about their expenses increasing. We’re asking them to put their hands in their pockets and properly look after the public services, starting with the police.”