Skint police officers sleeping in their cars and even using 'foodbanks'

Skint police officers sleeping in their cars and even using 'foodbanks' <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Skint police officers sleeping in their cars and even using 'foodbanks' (Image: Newsquest)

Skint rookie police officers are reportedly sleeping in their cars and even using “foodbanks” in their stations.

Some new recruits have “just pounds left at the end of the month to feed themselves”.

It comes as figures show that officers across the country faced a 13 per cent real terms pay cut between 2009 to 2021, the latest available data.

Andy Standing, branch secretary for the Police Federation, made the revelations on Saturday night.

Sussex Police said it was “not aware” of any officers sleeping in cars.

Mr Standing, a detective inspector for Sussex Police, told The Mirror: “We have had officers, even if it is just for a short period of time, sleeping in their cars and vans.

“We do all we can to try and signpost them but it is a really sad situation and not one I thought I would ever see.

“We’ve got stories of officers going to foodbanks to keep going. There are officers who literally have just pounds left at the end of the month to feed themselves.

“And many young cops are living with mum and dad because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. The public would be shocked and ashamed if they know how the government are treating officers.”

Former Sussex chief superintendent Kevin Moore warned that police poverty could lead to officers being susceptible to financial control by criminal gangs.

He said: “It’s scandalous. No one joins the police to earn lots – but police salaries shouldn’t leave officers unable to pay the bills.”

Kevin Moore in 2006. Picture from Argus Archive (Image: Argus Archive)

The government introduced a £1,900 salary increase for all officers which came into force last month.

Sussex Police pointed towards the fact that it raised the South East allowance for Sussex Police officers to the maximum £2,000 a year – taking total increase in all officers’ pay to £2,400.

The minimum salary for a PC is £23,556.

The Police Federation is currently undertaking a pay and morale survey about pay and conditions which closes tonight.

A Sussex Police spokesman told The Argus: “In light of the difficult financial climate and the increase in cost of living nationally, we remain committed to listening to and supporting our workforce.

“We are not aware of anyone sleeping in their car. Our officers and staff know there is a range of support available.

"Earlier this year, following the government’s pay award for all police officers, our Chief Constable raised the South East allowance for officers to the maximum £2,000 per year.

“This decision was taken to demonstrate to all our officers that we are listening and will do everything within our power to improve pay and working conditions.

“As part of our wellbeing strategy, we also have a range of support available to our workforce. This includes our specialist support for mental health and trauma, multifaith chaplaincy and our staff support networks.

“We are also proud to have a Charitable Trust which offers support to Sussex Police officers, staff, special constables, pensioners and dependant family members in their hour of need.”