Officers Skipping Meals And Struggling To Afford Housing

South Yorkshire Police officers are continuing to struggle financially, the Federation has said, as a new report found that, nationally, one in five officers were skipping meals.

Metfriendly’s Police Family Finance Report, a survey of more than 6,000 serving and retired police officers and support staff, found that for 56% of respondents the cost-of-living crisis had affected their wellbeing, and 55% felt their financial situation had declined over the past 12 months, despite adjustments to pay levels made in 2023.

One in five (21%) are skipping meals, and 9% said they or family members they live with have used a food bank in the past 12 months.

Steve Kent, Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation, which runs a foodbank for its officers, said it was ridiculous that officers weren’t able to afford the basics.

He said: “We run our own foodbank for our officers. We’re glad that officers have used it and that it’s been helpful, but that just shows there’s a need for it. South Yorkshire is an area where you get more for your pound than you do elsewhere in the country. I can only imagine what it’s like in other places.

“Even in South Yorkshire, our young officers are genuinely struggling to find a place to rent, and don’t even start on mortgages. Young officers are not in a position to take a mortgage out. So we’ve got officers house sharing; 30 years ago, a PC could afford a mortgage as a single person. Now, they’re struggling to afford to rent somewhere. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“I’m not surprised at all that officers are skipping meals. As well as the fact that the demand is so high that they don’t get time to eat, financially they’re struggling too, and this is not right.”