Priti Patel told police officers are using food banks while ‘struggling to feed their families’

Serving police officers are using food banks because their pay is too low to support their families amid the cost of living crisis, the home secretary has been told.

The chair of the Police Federation, which represents almost 140,000 rank-and-file officers in England and Wales, said praise for their actions during the Covid pandemic had “amounted to nothing”.

“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,” Steve Hartshorn told a conference in Manchester.

“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.”

Mr Hartshorn addressed the home secretary directly during his speech, which received long and loud applause from police officers gathered from across the country.

“Home secretary, what has gone wrong?” he 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”, adding: “This cannot go on.”


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