'Record number of police officers moonlighting for extra cash'

Police officers stand on the scene outside the John Baker House Sanctuary Supported Living after a major incident was declared when a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent on July 6, 2018 in Salisbury, England

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Officers are having to cancel leave to cope with rising demand – including during the Wiltshire poisonings, the Police Federation said

Almost one in 12 police officers say they have taken a second job, with some appearing to be in financial “dire straits”, according to the organisation representing British police.

A Police Federation of England Wales (PFEW) survey found 7.8% officers have sought extra work – a figure it says is a record high.

And it said 44% of officers worry about finances daily or nearly every day.

Some officers have resorted to food vouchers, the PFEW chairman said.

Previous reports have found that officers have taken up second jobs in professions including teaching, beauty therapy, photography, bar staff and football refereeing.

Officers are allowed to carry out additional work outside their job if the force approves it.

According to the survey, which included responses from more than 27,000 police officers from constable up to chief inspector rank:

  • 7.8% of respondents had taken up additional employment, up from 6.3% last year
  • More than one in nine (11.8%) said they never or almost never had enough money to cover all of their essentials, rising from 11% last year
  • Three quarters said they feel financially worse off than they did five years ago
  • Over 87% of officers surveyed did not feel their pay was fair considering the “stresses and strains of the job”

Chairman John Apter said it “hardly comes as a surprise” but the results were “grim”.

“Our members are clearly suffering from even worse financial pressures than last year, with some appearing to be in dire straits,” he said.

Mr Apter blamed dwindling resources and rising crime which has led to a record high demand for police services, adding that officers want to be “adequately paid”.

Policing career ‘still desirable’

Last month, the government announced a pay increase for police officers of 2% from 1 September this year. The PFEW labelled the increase “derisory”.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the Conservatives were “in total denial about the misery that their cuts to public services have caused”.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “We are grateful to all police officers for the incredible job they do – and will continue to ensure they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

“The police pay award for 2018/19 represents the highest consolidated pay award since 2010. And the number of people joining police forces is at a 10-year high which demonstrates policing is still a desirable and sought-after career.”

Francis Habgood, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for pay and conditions, said forces encourage officers to seek support if they run into financial difficulties.

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