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Metfriendly Police Family Finance Index Report – March 2024

The cost of living crisis continues to impact the police, with more than half (56%) saying that their financial situation is having a high level of impact on their mental health, according to a new report from police family finance experts, Metfriendly.

Police Officers’ mental health suffering at the hands of the cost of living crisis

The Police Family Finance Report, a survey of more than 6,000 serving and retired police officers and support staff, finds that the majority of respondents (55%) feel their financial situation has declined over the past 12 months, despite adjustments to pay levels made in 2023.

One in five (21%) are skipping meals, and food bank usage is on the rise, with nearly one in ten (9%) having used one – or admitting that family members they live with have – in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, short-term financial pressures are having a long-term impact. Just under half (49%) of all police officers considered stopping pension payments due to financial pressures in the past 12 months. This includes 8% of respondents who have halted pension payments to get by.

Annette Petchey, Chief Executive Officer, Metfriendly said: “The ongoing cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on everyone, but it is having a particularly significant impact on the mental health of the police family. Those in the force face long hours, excessive workloads, changing shift patterns and exposure to trauma day in, day out. The very nature of their jobs means that maintaining good mental health is often an uphill battle, but the financial stresses they are facing are exacerbating this and making an already difficult issue feel impossible.

“Our research shockingly reveals that a quarter of police officers and support staff are considering leaving the force altogether. The possible disappearance of such a large proportion of experienced police officers, who play a vital role in serving and protecting us all, presents a serious challenge and action must be taken.”

Other key findings from the report include nearly half (44%) of police officers think they will need to work extra hours just to make ends meet, and more than one in five (21%) are considering taking on an additional job, in addition to their police role, to meet their financial challenges.

Sir Mark Rowley, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police said: “Last year we secured a 7% pay award from the Government, but it’s clear that after a 16% real terms cut compared to 12 years ago, many officers are still struggling.

“Policing is challenging enough without the added strain that concerns about the cost of living are placing on officers’ mental health and personal lives.

“This year we’re calling for a pay rise at or above the rate of inflation. We also want to see London weighting increased by at least £2,000 to acknowledge that buying or renting a home, paying for childcare and a whole host of other costs are far greater in the capital.

“These changes matter greatly for serving officers, but they’re also important if we’re to reverse the backward trend in recruitment that’s being seen not just in policing but in health, prisons, probation, teaching and many other parts of the public sector in London.

“We’ll keep fighting for officers on fair pay. This report sets out why that is so important.”

Steve Hartshorn, National Chair, Police Federation of England and Wales said: “We know from our own research that UK police families are still facing many cost-of-living challenges.

“These challenges are impacting police families, not just from a financial point of view but also in terms of their overall wellbeing. We welcome this report from Metfriendly, the UK police family finance specialists, which puts a clear spotlight on these issues.

“I recommend that all involved in UK policing read the report and consider the clear evidence that these challenges are having on the recruitment and retention of police officers and staff. The report highlights police families with high levels of financial concerns, food banks being accessed and meals being skipped, all due to financial pressures.

“This is not a great advert for policing in 2024 and cannot be allowed to continue. How can we have a profession that are unable to afford to feed their families, yet at the same time we see them risk their own lives to rescue people from a burning building or stand in the way of violence? We, as a society, owe it to our police officers, staff and their families, to do better.”


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