Cost of living: Dorset police use food banks

Dorset POLICE officers must use food banks and payday loans as they struggle during the cost of living crisis, the chairman of the Dorset Police Federation has said.

James Dimmack is calling on police officers to receive fairer pay after hearing about co-workers struggling to pay for food to feed their families.

Mr Dimmack said: ‘It’s a staggering statistic that the police are one of the professions most likely to use a payday loan.

“We have agents in Dorset who use food banks and payday loans.

“It’s not fair that this is the case, when officers go out there and are asked to be the first line of defence.”

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He added: “The cost of living crisis is affecting all sections of society and hitting police officers just as hard.

“Officers have taken a 20% pay cut in real terms over the past 10 years. With the rising cost of living and falling incomes, this is hitting us very hard.

The starting salary for constables in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is £21,654.

Some Dorset Constables have taken out payday loans Mr Dimmack said: “We are not going to attract people when the pay is so low.

“If people want to get higher salaries elsewhere, they will leave the police – and that ignores the fact that we are under increasing pressure and society’s demands on police officers are increasing.

“It’s dangerous and stressful work and we need to be paid properly.

“We’re not asking for anything ridiculous; we just want a fair pay raise.

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A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Police are working tirelessly to keep our streets safe and to put criminals behind bars and we thank them for their work.

“It is the responsibility of the Police Pay Review Body (PRRB) to review and make recommendations to the government on the appropriate level of pay and allowances.

“We value the independent and expert advice of the PRRB and pay particular attention to their recommendations.

“We are delivering by increasing funding for the policing system to up to £16.9bn in 2022/23, including for our additional 20,000 officers.”

Jo Mosley, Dorset Police People and Support Services Manager, said: “The well-being of our officers and staff is vitally important to Dorset Police. We recognize that in times of economic hardship some of our staff may experience financial hardship.

“There are several ways a member of Dorset Police can ask for help. The Force Welfare Fund may provide grants, loans or other forms of support.

“In addition to this the force has now entered into a working agreement with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) who are able to offer free debt advice. We are also undertaking wider work through the alliance regarding financial support.

“We will do everything we can to support everyone in all aspects of their lives, both personally and professionally.”

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