The Police Officer Salary; Are Police Struggling to Get By?

- by Elizabeth Redfern
Different Professions & Payday Loans – Chapter 11

It came as a shock for many people to read that police officers were taking out short term finance. This is because this is a profession which has traditionally been considered a secure, well-paid job in the UK. So what has changed to make it difficult for members of the Force to make ends meet? Before we look at the reasons why they need payday loans, let’s look at the police officer salary.

This article will detail the history, training, salaries and perks of police officers and analyse the changes that have occurred over the past eight years to understand why so many are facing financial difficulties.

The police officer salary in the uk - Cashflloat

How much do police officers make?

Starting salary for police constables£19,971 and £23,124
Sergeants£39,693 to £43,134
Inspectors£49,176 to £53,340
Chief inspectors£54,432 to £56,670

History of the British Police Force

Sir Robert Peel introduced the idea of professional policing when he became Home Secretary in 1822. His Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 established a full-time, centrally-organised Police Force for the greater London area. Other Royal boroughs and counties followed his example so that by 1900, there were around 46,800 professional policemen across the whole country. In successive years, smaller forces merged so that now there are 45 Police Forces in the UK: 43 in England and Wales, 1 in Scotland and 1 in Northern Ireland.

How to Become a Police Officer

Apart from being a minimum of 18 years old, there are no formal restrictions for applicants to the police as long as they can pass written tests and a fitness test. Despite this, 68% of successful applicants have at least A levels while 30% of those are graduates. By contrast, in 1959 only 1% of officers had an education to A-level standard or above.

All probationary police constables undertake extensive professional training known as the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) leading to a Level 3 Diploma in Policing (QCF) during the first two years of service. The IPLDP consists of four phases: Induction, Community, Supervised Patrol and Independent Patrol. Only when the probationary period has been completed are constables eligible to specialise in different aspects of policing. Promotion is not automatic and depends on the individual’s skills and talents.

FAQ’s about Working for the Police Force

Additional Police Officer Benefits

Working for the police force does have some addtional benefits, here are a few:

  • Police Annual Leave and Sick Leave

    Police officers are entitled to 25 days of annual leave if they have been in service for less than two years. For those with over twenty years in the force, this amount rises to 30 days.
    Police officers are allowed Sick Leave for up to 7 days when they are required to produce a medical certificate.

  • Maternity Leave for Police Officers

    Police officers are entitled to up to 15 months of Maternity Leave irrespective of their length of service as long as notice is given by the 15th week before the expected week of confinement. From April 2012, officers with 63 weeks of continuous service at the expected date of confinement receive full pay and allowances for the first 18 weeks of maternity leave. Alternatively, the final five weeks can be spread over ten weeks but at 50% of their salary. After 18 weeks, they receive 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay as long as they have completed 26 weeks of service by the 15th week of the expected birth.

  • Police Pensions

    The revised Police Pension Scheme took effect from April 2015 and replaced previous schemes. Every new police officer is automatically enrolled although they can opt out if they choose. The new scheme is CARE (Career Average Revalued Earnings). A fraction of 1/55.3 Pensionable Earnings is calculated for each year as earned pension, the amount being revalued every year until retirement. The Normal Pension Age is 60 although officers can retire at the Normal Minimum Pension Age, which is 55.

  • The Police Federation

    Set up in 1919, the Police Federation is the largest Staff Association in the UK. It represents 122,000 rank and file officers. Its primary role is to represent and support its members, influence decision-making at a local and national level and negotiate its members’ conditions of service and pay. It also offers them additional benefits like discounts on services such as mortgage facilities and car hire. Officers in Scotland are represented by the Scottish Police Federation. Those in Northern Ireland have a separate Federation.

struggling police officers cashfloat

Police Officers Struggling to Get by

In their August 2017 Pay & Morale survey, the Police Federation of England & Wales found that 1 in 10 officers couldn’t afford the essentials on their salary. Futhermore, many find themselves taking out wage day advance loans to cover the cost of living. When the Police Federation asked the same question to probationers (officers in their first 2 years of service and therefore on the lowest salary), this number increased to 1 in 6. These members of the rank and file are the ones who are more likely to apply for payday loans to make up the shortfall in their earnings.

With smaller police stations closing down, many more officers nowadays are in towns and cities. This, of course, makes their living expenses so much more especially considering the housing crisis. Renting privately has skyrocketed while their starting salaries are so low that most struggling police officers aren’t eligible for a mortgage.

Of the 30,000 officers who responded to this annual survey, 72% agreed that they needed a decent pay rise and said they were financially worse off because of rising living costs. Many of them said they were finding themselves going for wonga loans to help them pull through the month. 86% also said that they did not receive payment fairly considering the strain of their job. 62% felt that their workload was too heavy.

struggling police officers cashfloat

Payday Loans for Police Officers

Following an intensive study of our customer base, Cashfloat noticed the high amount of requests for payday loans for police officers coming through the website. The question is: What makes police on the force resort to payday loans for police officers? Although the Police Federation is sympathetic of police officers getting into debt, it emphasises that those in debt should make full disclosures of their situation so that it is not discovered during routine security or vetting checks. This is because it is felt that officers in debt can be vulnerable. Many officers solve their problems with an IVA ( Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or a Trust Deed (in Scotland) as an alternative to bankruptcy.

Organisations which work with officers to solve their financial problems in this way say that they are suffering because of the cessation of overtime as well as cuts in other supplementary allowances. They might have mortgage payments which they are struggling to pay on lower salaries and initially make up the shortfall by using credit cards. Once they reach the maximum amount allowed on their cards, they turn to lenders providing payday loans for police officers as a way to make ends meet. Banks are reluctant to lend them more money because of all the back debt they already owe.

Conclusion – The Police Officer Salary

Being a police officer in the UK and surviving on the police officer salary is certainly worthy of much praise. As we have seen in this article, many police officers are struggling to make ends meet. If you are looking to become a police officer, you should take into account all the pros and cons mentioned in this article and make an informed decision.

Until police are earning enough for them to get by, approaching lenders offering payday loans for police might be the best way for them to cope with unexpected shortfalls in their earnings. Cashfloat is proud to offer payday loans for police officers in the UK who are struggling with a short-term money problem.

Do you need a payday loan despite your profession? Consider a Cashfloat loan.
Do you need a payday loan despite your profession? Consider a Cashfloat loan.
About The Author
Elizabeth Redfern
Elizabeth Redfern is a born and bred Londoner who loves the city life. She is a proud chocoholic who enjoys reading, jogging and eating - especially chocolate! Elizabeth attained a first class degree in Mathematics but chose to make a career out of her real passion, writing. She has published many poems and short stories, but decided to join the Cashfloat educational channel writing team because she is passionate about helping people take care of their finances leaving them free to enjoy the finer points of life - most notably (in her opinion), chocolate!
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