Welsh police detective says she has to borrow money from her mum to make ends meet
A Welsh police officer has spoken openly about her struggle to survive when she confronted Priti Patel over how she had to borrow money from her mother to make ends meet. Vicky Knight was just one of the officers who lambasted the Home Secretary for poor police pay.
The detective constable, who said she worked in child protection as well as with vulnerable adults and had worked in policing for 23 years, asked Ms Patel if she would be able to ‘survive’ with £1,200 or £1,400 per month. The single mother described how she had to borrow money from her own mother to pay school dinner bills and described herself and some colleagues as ‘desperately struggling to do the work we love and to join both ends”.
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After paying for professional subscriptions and retirement, she said she was earning £2,300 a month and working overtime twice a month to ‘make ends meet’. Because wages are measured before pension deductions, she receives no help other than family allowances for children, telling the conference, “Other than that, I’m on my own.”
Describing how she is paid ‘a few hundred pounds a month more than McDonald’s workers flipping burgers’ and less than her ‘local manager at Lidl’, Ms Knight explained how before her last day of pay she had to borrow £40. from his mother so that she could put gas in her car and buy food for her son’s school canteens “because I had no more money at the end of the month.
She was applauded when she asked, “I work…with the most vulnerable members of our community and I love my job, but if interest rates go up I can’t pay my mortgage and I can’t not pay for my fuel, I will no longer be able to go to work.
“I went to an accountant, and the advice was to quit the police, work 22 hours a week and claim benefits, and you’ll be better off.” Ms Knight added: ‘I’m telling this story not because I’m here to sympathize, I just want to be heard. I am here to represent myself and many people in the force who are like me.
“We are desperately struggling to do the work we love and to make ends meet at home. So I need you to be on our team and help us, represent us…so that we get paid fairly. The Home Secretary was also told some officers were using food banks as she attended the Police Federation conference in person for the first time since the pandemic.
Ms Patel said pay and conditions was something she was ‘committed’ to working on with the Federation and thanked Ms Knight for sharing her story, adding: ‘I think it really illustrates so strongly and so powerfully why we really need to find solutions pay for the problems and give you the support you rightly deserve. We need to get things done. You have that commitment from me, you absolutely have it.”
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales on Wednesday, she said it was “embarrassing” to have to talk about something so personal.
“It’s quite personal, and actually quite embarrassing that you’re professional, in a professional organization, and my time there, and you’re at a point where you feel like you’re stepping back,” a- she declared. “I have a house, I have a mortgage, but maybe I should sell it and go back to living with my parents.”
The comments came as it was announced on Wednesday (May 18) that inflation hit a 40-year high today, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak facing massive pressure to offer cost-of-living aid. The headline CPI rate rose to 9% in April from 7% in March and its highest level since 1982.
The Bank of England expects the rate to worsen further, peaking at 10.25% in the last quarter of the year, amid the biggest squeeze on incomes since records began in the 1950s. Read the Bank of England warning here.
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