I can no longer afford to be a police officer, says constable who collared Priti Patel over pay

She explained officers on probation only took home £1,200 a month and for that they were risking their lives and being kicked and spat at.

She said that despite working for 23 years in policing she was still only £200 a month better off than someone who worked in a fast-food restaurant “flipping burgers”.

Ms Knight, who works with vulnerable children, said: “I love my job but it is getting to the point where I cannot afford to do it.”

She went on: “I was scared on Saturday. I had no money left, and I mean like at the end of my overdraft, not a penny. And I had to go cap in hand to my mum.

“I’m 47 years old, I’ve been a professional for 20 years, it’s a professional job, and I had to go to my mum and say, ‘It’s been a five weekend month mum, and I have got no money left and I need to buy school dinners’.”

Ms Knight said after paying her bills she is left with around £100 a month for food.

She said the growing cost-of-living crisis meant things were only going to get worse and she had considered getting an e-bike and cycling the 22 miles to work to save on petrol.

Far removed from reality

She said: “Some of the politicians are so far removed from the reality of it. They live in their big houses in their nice area with their kids in public school.

“I joined the Navy when I was 17 and I’ve done nothing but serve the public all my working life. I’m at the point where I’m going backwards.

“I’m potentially going to lose my house. I’m potentially going to have to move back in with my parents. And I’m not on my own.”

Ms Knight also warned that officers who were struggling financially could become vulnerable to organized crime groups seeking to corrupt them.

She said: “It’s going to be too easy for people to take backhanders when they are desperate.”

The Police Federation has also called on the Government to increase their holiday entitlement to stop officers leaving the service.

Mr Hartshorn said: “The amount of annual leave an officer receives is based on length of service and we believe that this contravenes the Equality Act 2010. It takes 20 years of service to reach the entitlement of 30 days, with officers starting on 22 days .

“We propose starting officers on 25 days and reaching the entitlement of 30 days after five years or more.”

He said the current system was biased against women because many took career breaks in order to have children and so took longer to reach the higher entitlement.

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