More than half of police officers worry about money almost every day and many are experiencing financial difficulties, research by the Police Federation of England and Wales has revealed.
Only 36 per cent of respondents to the Federation's annual Pay and Morale Survey said they had enough money to cover their monthly essentials, with around one in eight admitting they have to seek financial support to cover day-to-day expenses within the last year.
Out 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.
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This research must shock whoever forms the next government into 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 a 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.”
Here in Yorkshire, 49 per cent of North Yorkshire Police officers surveyed stated they were worried about their personal finances almost every day. This compared to 41 per cent of South Yorkshire Police officers, and 37 per cent in both West Yorkshire and Humberside.
His 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 and 91 per cent believe their pay does not reflect the strains and stresses of being a police officer.
This year police officers were given a 2.5 per cent pay rise. The Police Federation had asked for a 5 per cent uplift, followed by 5 per cent in both 2020/21 and 2021/22.
As well as financial aspect the survey also asked officers about their morale and that of the wider profession – 57 per cent said that their morale was either low or very low and 93 per cent said the morale in the service as a whole was low or very low.
In Yorkshire's largest police force - West Yorkshire Police - and North Yorkshire Police, 41 per cent said their morale is low, while 82 per cent said they thought morale within the force is low.
Fifty-five per cent of South Yorkshire Police officers said their morale is low, while 89 per cent said they thought morale is low within the force.
Thirty-five per cent of officers at Humberside Police said their own morale is low, with 47 per cent saying they thought morale within the force is 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 intend to leave the service as soon as possible or within the next two years.
Mr Apter said: “We have heard, and continue to hear, a lot of promises around policing and police officer wellbeing. Wellbeing means many things, one of the easiest 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 per cent 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.
“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."