Priti Patel confronted by police officers who cannot afford to do their jobs

Priti Patel confronted by police officers who cannot afford to do their jobs
Priti Patel grilled by police officers over pay

Home secretary Priti Patel was told by serving police officers that their pay is so low they've resorted to using food banks.

Speaking during a conference in Manchester, Steve Hartshorn, the chair of the Police Federation, which represents almost 140,000 rank-and-file officers in England and Wales, said that increasing numbers of officers would leave policing as a result of the cost of living crisis.

“Over the last decade, we have seen a real-term pay cut of around 20 per cent and other costs haven’t stood still – gas, electric and fuel costs all continue to rise, and national insurance contributions increased,” he said.

“Our members are told they are brave; they are told they do a unique job. They were thanked for putting themselves and their families in danger as Covid gripped the country, and yet that acknowledgement amounted to nothing.

“It’s frustrating to see and hear from colleagues who are struggling to feed their families and going to food banks.”

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It comes after the Police Federation withdrew from the official police pay review body last year, saying it “no longer has confidence” in the home secretary following a pay freeze for officers earning more than £24,000.

Meanwhile, inflation has today hit 9 per cent amid the cost of living crisis but MPs voted against a Labour policy to introduce a windfall tax to raise the money needed to help vulnerable members of society.

“Home secretary, what has gone wrong?” Hartshorn asked. “Why are my colleagues one of the only groups of frontline public sector workers being penalised in their pockets?”

He said he was “angered” to hear of experienced officers leaving policing “not because they want to, but because they can’t afford not to”. He added that “this cannot go on”.

Hartshorn told journalists he was hearing stories “day-in, day-out” about colleagues not being able to make ends meet, warning that policing would “lose a lot of very experienced officers to other industries” as the cost of living rises.

“We want them to stay but I fully understand why they do need to go. Ultimately, the government needs to start paying police properly,” he said.

Meanwhile, delegates clapped and cheered an officer who asked why MPs’ pay had risen from £64,000 to £84,000 a year since 2009, while new police recruits had gone from just £22,000 to £24,000.

Oh dear, seems she isn't the most popular minister...

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