New research conducted by the Police Federation of England and Wales reveals the shocking fact that more than half of police officers worry about money on an almost daily basis.
The findings from the Federation's annual Pay and Morale Survey also reveal that only 36% of respondents said they had enough money to cover their monthly essentials, with around one in eight admitting they have had to seek financial support to cover day to day expenses within the last year.
Of the 19,654 respondents to the survey, conducted between June and August 2019, almost 75% said they felt worse off financially than they were five years ago.
Reacting to the startling figures John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This research must shock whoever forms the next government in to action. Every day police officers go to work to protect and serve the public to the best of their ability putting themselves in harm’s way and in some tragic cases making the ultimate sacrifice.
“They deal with enough stress and trauma at work and it is scandalous they are being put in the position where they are having to deal with additional anxiety caused by money worries when they get home.
“Our members must be paid fairly for the job they do and should not be put in the unforgivable position of having to borrow from friends or family just to make ends meet.”
This view was echoed in the findings of the research which found more than eight out of 10 surveyed feel they are not paid enough for the dangers of the job while 91% believe their pay does not reflect the strains and stresses of being a police officer.
This year police officers were given a 2.5% pay rise. The Police Federation had asked for a 5% uplift, followed by a further 5% in both 2020/21 and 2021/22.
As well as financial issues the survey also asked officers about their morale and that of the wider profession – 57% said their morale was either low or very low, while 93% said the morale in the service as a whole was low or very low.
Despite this the majority of respondents said they were still proud to be a police officer.
When it came to plans for the future, just over one in 10 respondents said they intended to leave the service as soon as possible or within the next two years.
Mr Apter continued: "We have heard, and continue to hear, a lot of promises around policing and police officer wellbeing. Wellbeing means many things, one of the easier ways to help boost wellbeing is by boosting the pay in officers’ pockets. It’s not rocket science - since 2010 police officers have seen an 18% real-term pay cut from their pay, this is a national disgrace.
“These figures give a real sense of the struggles and frustrations facing my members, but despite feeling undervalued and underpaid most are still proud to be police officers.
“This is typical of those who do this extraordinary job, and something appreciated by the public. It now needs to be appreciated by those who will control the Government purse strings.”
Mr Apter concluded: “My members have experienced years of austerity, they have seen police officer numbers fall by 22,000 and they continue to face rocketing crime rates. They deserve better and I will continue to do all I can to ensure they get it.”
Reports for force areas can be found on our survey hub here.