1 in 10 cops can’t afford essentials

25 July 2017


More than one in 10 police officers say they either never or almost never have enough money to cover all of their essentials, according to the headline results of our latest pay and morale study.

More than 30,000 police officers, equivalent to around a quarter of all ranks from constable to chief inspector, took part in the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) annual survey.  Open from 18 April to 9 June this year, the findings provide vital evidence to inform our work on pay and conditions.  

While 10% of all officers surveyed can’t afford everyday essentials, for probationers (those in the first two years of service) this proportion rises to around one in six.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, nearly 75% of respondents feel financially worse off than they did five years ago, and more than 85% do not feel fairly paid considering the stresses and strains of the job, with mental health issues in the service an increasing concern.  

PFEW General Secretary, Andy Fittes, said: “These findings make for uncomfortable reading, showing members are clearly feeling financial strain, but come as no surprise.  We know officers are struggling, with some using food vouchers, which is frankly not acceptable for those employed to keep us safe or in fact any public sector worker.  

“We have continually warned that policing is in a critical condition; government budgets cuts mean fewer officers and diminished resources, yet crime and demand for the service is continually rising.  Our officers are under immense pressure to deliver, more now than ever with the constant threat of terrorism, and all they want is to be adequately paid.”

Force level reports are due to be available in August and as usual we will use the findings in our submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (an independent group which advises the government on police pay) to help inform the pay award in 2018.

Talking about the delay to this years’ pay award announcement – due in September instead of July – PFEW Chair, Steve White, added: “At a time when it’s never been more critical to support our police service, this delay does little to enamour officers who already feel undervalued.”

The key survey headlines are:

  • 72% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their salary (compared with 60% last year) – this is the highest level since the survey began.
  • 72.5% of respondents said that they felt financially worse off now than they did five years ago.
  • 86.5% of respondents did not feel fairly paid considering the stresses and strains of their job.
  • More than one in ten respondents said that they either never or almost never had enough money to cover all of their essentials; this number rose for probationers, with around one in six either never or almost never having enough money to cover essentials.