Calls for fair pay for police officers by the Chief Constable of Essex have been welcomed by Staffordshire Police Federation.

Branch chair Lee Robinson said BJ Harrington’s intervention sent out a powerful message to the Government which is facing a 17 per cent pay claim by the Police Federation after more than two decades of real–terms cuts.

Mr Harrington warned many Essex officers would be unable to carry on for much longer unless they received a fair pay offer.

He said some were using a food bank run by colleagues at a police station in the county, 300 had asked for permission to take second jobs to make ends meet and many others were leaving the Force for financial reasons.

He added: “You can’t Taser the gas bill and you can't handcuff the family food shop at Lidl. And you can’t arrest rising mortgage bills.” 

In a speech to new recruits, he said: “Seeing 84 new officers take their oath to protect communities across Essex is an incredibly proud moment but there is no doubt it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain the best new talent.

“Police pay has fallen behind that of other sectors by 17 per cent since the year 2000 and this is too big a gap to simply ignore.

“I need the officers and staff across Essex to focus on helping people, keeping people safe and catching criminals, not on whether they can afford to stay in the job. You need to be able to afford to do your job.”

His comments were echoed by Lee who said the pay crisis was deepening in forces across the country.

“Chief constables are publicly calling for a decent pay rises for their officers because they know it’s only a matter of time before they can longer justify staying in the job,” he said.

“Officers with young children are looking at their monthly mortgage repayments and household bills and asking themselves if they can still afford to live and support their families on their wages as a police officer.

“Unfortunately, the answer is increasingly ‘no’ and the serious issues around officer retention are not going to go away unless pay is sorted out.

“Staffordshire Police has to make itself an attractive place to work and, like it or not, that starts with paying its officers a salary that reflects the dangers they face, the sacrifices they make, the pressures they come under and the fact that they perform a unique service protecting their communities.

“This year’s pay offer should also take into account two decades of real-terms cuts and the fact that unlike our colleagues in other frontline services, we are not allowed to take industrial action to press home our demands for pay parity.

“Cuts have consequences and at the minute our police forces are losing too many good officers.”

The Police Federation is calling for a 17 per cent pay rise for members after an independent study showed a landslide decline in police pay since 2000.

The research by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) revealed real terms police pay has fallen almost 20 per cent behind inflation between 2000 and 2022.