Police officers relying on food vouchers as cost-of-living crisis deepens

More than 100 officers and staff from Gloucestershire Constabulary relied on food vouchers last week, according to the chair of the local police federation.

Steve James, chair of the Gloucestershire Police Federation, revealed in a tweet that 120 vouchers had been given out in three days.

He said: “Our force was able to obtain a number of food vouchers to help officers and staff struggling to make ends meet.

“Last week we gave out over 120 in three days.

“120 officers/staff who needed food vouchers to get by. In three days.

“A further 50 requests by Monday morning… #PayOurPolice”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Police said: “It is a shame anyone has to use food vouchers or foodbanks but, as our workforce reflects society, it is inevitable some of our staff will be affected.

“In line with other employers and as part of our supportive leadership and wellbeing approach, we wanted to do the right thing and support staff during this difficult time, which is why we made this offer.

“We asked staff most in need to come forward, such as those who have experienced unexpected costs, a significant change in personal circumstances or difficulties accessing foodbanks due to shift patterns.

“Police officer and staff pay awards are negotiated nationally but officers and staff are entitled to a fair pay rise, particularly in light of the work they have done alongside other emergency workers during the response to Covid.”

Home secretary Priti Patel was last month told to ‘put her money where her mouth is’ when she was confronted by police over concerns about pay.

At the Police Federation annual conference she was told officers across the country were using foodbanks.

Last year the federation withdrew from the Police Remuneration Review Body, an independent system that sets salaries, after outrage over the Government’s decision to freeze pay for officers who earn more than £24,000.

By contrast, NHS staff were given a three per cent increase and firefighters and local government workers a 1.5 per cent rise.

In a Police Federation survey last year, 92 per cent of respondents from Gloucestershire Constabulary said they did not feel they are paid fairly for the stresses and strains they have within their job.

Ms Patel said that pay and conditions was something she was “committed” to working with the Federation on.

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