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30 June 2023
The findings in the Police Family Finance Index (PFFI) June 2023 from Metfriendly, published this week, reveals the abysmal financial situation of police officers in England and Wales.
The report brings out the harsh realities of the rising cost-of-living crisis and its real-world consequences for police officers and their families. It says “the cost of living crisis is continuing to significantly impact police family finances” and breaks down the key changes since the previous survey was carried out in August 2022.
The proportion of respondents reporting to have financial concerns has increased from 74 per cent in August 2022, to 86 per cent in June 2023; and respondents reporting missing financial obligations in the past year, has increased from 11 to 17 per cent in just the past six months alone.
Deputy National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), Tiff Lynch, said: “Unfortunately, and sadly, the report does not make for a surprising read. Our members’ pay has been neglected over the past more than 10 years, so any examination of officers’ financial health is bound to reveal disturbing facts.
“Now, in the midst of the heightened cost-of-living crisis, and with the Government seemingly incapable of honouring their commitment to award fair pay to police officers, the reality for many officers and their families is grim and should be of a grave concern to all.
“There is no light at the end of the tunnel for our members. The report highlights that 75 per cent of respondents believe that their finances will be worse or a lot worse over the next 12 months, whilst 86 per cent revealed that their finances had got worse or a lot worse over the past 12 months.”
Providing a grim reality check, the Metfriendly survey reveals the lengths at which officers go to help make ends meet for themselves and their families. At least 60 per cent of the respondents are doing more overtime, 26 per cent are doing a second job, 40 per cent are selling personal possessions, whilst a massive 37 per cent are thinking of changing job and leaving the police service.
“This is an absolute disgrace! Policing should be a satisfying and self-sufficient career and those who choose to do it should not have to rely on overtime, second jobs or even selling personal possessions to help make ends meet.
“The Government needs to wake up to the reality that on its watch policing in England and Wales has fallen into crisis. If 37 per cent of officers do leave policing, the impact on our communities will be horrendous, not to mention the impact on each force up and down England and Wales,” she added.
The report takes into account all aspects of officers’ financial health, looking closely at missing financial payments, debt levels, food poverty and food bank access. Across all these areas there is an increase in financial concerns – a greater number missed payments, rising debt levels, along with increased rates of food poverty and reduced savings levels.
The survey finds significant debt outside of a mortgage has remained flat at 22 per cent over the past two surveys, highlighting the impact of mortgage increases on financial circumstances and the “success” of additional income-generating solutions. But with interest rates continuing to rise it is only a matter of time until many respondents’ mortgage repayments increase yet again placing further strain on household budgets that are already at a breaking point.
“This report should put fear into all who read it, not least those in the Government, as the implications are serious and far reaching. The increase in levels of financial concern and their impact upon the everyday lives of our members are a genuine concern. These concerns will only increase in the coming months while all we have is dither and delay from a Government unprepared to face reality and pay our members the fair pay they deserve, as set out in the Federation’s founding Act of the Parliament,” she commented.