Food vouchers and charity a stark reality for some officers

17 May 2017

Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd on stage at the PFEW Annual Conference

Home Secretary Amber Rudd was told that poverty-stricken police officers were being forced to rely on charity to make ends meet at the Federation’s conference today.

John Apter, Hampshire Federation chair, told her: “In my force we have a police welfare fund which is a registered charity. Officers are now going to the welfare fund for food vouchers so that they can put food on the table or fuel in their car to get to work.

“So the quote you used about doing what’s right for the country, is that right?”

Ms Rudd said she was ‘sorry to hear that’ but then added: “Well, the average police salary is about £40,000 a year” which sparked jeers from delegates. She added: “That’s what I’m told. I can see I have obviously not won over the room yet.”

North Wales Federation chair Simon Newport pointed out that “an MP’s starting salary is £75,000 whereas a PC starts off at about £19,500. 

“We’ve talked about food banks but let’s talk about second jobs. The police service has very stringent rules on second jobs, whereas MPs don’t – look at George Osborne as Editor of the Standard,” he said, making a personal plea to Ms Rudd to get the regulations relaxed so that officers were more able to take the second jobs they really needed.

In his speech earlier, Federation chair Steve White contrasted the situation with that of MPs who received an 11% pay increase the year before last, and highlighted how in real terms, officer pay had fallen by 15%. 

Ms Rudd repeated that she could not commit a future Conservative Government to raising the level of pay for police officers, but claimed that policing budgets had been protected. The current austerity 1% pay award for public sector workers would remain until 2019/20, she said: “We need to be able to protect the economy; we are still borrowing a billion pounds a year.”

However, Federation interim board member Phill Matthews told conference: “We have still got budget cuts over the next few years – I’ve just heard from a neighbouring force, Leicestershire, that they have a £10million shortfall.”