ALMOST half of rank-and-file police officers across Dorset are worrying about money, new figures suggest.

The latest findings by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PEFW), which represents officers from constable up to chief inspector rank, are based on responses from 27,303 members to its pay and morale survey in April and May.

The figures show that 44.7 per cent of Dorset Police officer respondents reported worrying about the state of their personal finances every day or almost every day.

Alongside this, 9.7 per cent of respondents from Dorset Police reported never or almost never having enough

money to cover all their essentials while 70.9 per cent of respondents said that they are dissatisfied with their

overall remuneration (including basic pay and allowances).

Nationally, half (44.8 per cent) of police polled said they worry about the state of their personal finances either every day or almost every day.

More than one in nine (11.8 per cent) said that they either never or almost never had enough money to cover all of their essentials, while 3.8 per cent had taken out a payday loan at least once in the last year.

John Apter, chair of the PFEW, said the results for Dorset "make grim reading".

He said: "Our members are clearly suffering from even worse financial pressures than last year, with some appearing to be in dire straits.

"Our members are under immense pressure to deliver, with dwindling resources and rising crime, particularly violent crime, leading to a demand for our services that has never been higher.

"All they want is to be adequately paid for the job that they do.

"We know officers are struggling and some have had to resort to food vouchers and other welfare schemes.

"This clearly cannot be right or acceptable that those employed to keep the public safe cannot make ends meet or put food on tables for their families."

Anna Harvey, chair of the Dorset Police Federation echoed Mr Apter's commenting adding that the high living costs in Dorset did not help the situation.

She said: "We have officers that are joining the force who are on lower wages with some clearing just £1,300 a month.

"Because of this, our demographic for the number of new officers has changed."

Last month, the Government announced police officers will be awarded a pay rise of 2 per cent in 2018 to 2019 - but the PFEW labelled the increase "derisory".

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are grateful to all police officers for the incredible job they do - and will continue to ensure they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

"The police pay award for 2018/19 represents the highest consolidated pay award since 2010. And the number of people joining police forces is at a 10-year high which demonstrates policing is still a desirable and sought-after career."

Francis Habgood, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for pay and conditions, said: "In the past few years, we have seen increasing demand on policing with rising overall recorded crime levels, more complex crimes being committed, a growing terrorist threat and, more than ever, the police being called as a last resort when other agencies lack their own capacity.

"We know that hardworking police officers (including in Dorset) are feeling the strain as limited pay increases in recent years mean that some officers struggle to keep their heads above water financially.

"Police forces actively encourage officers to seek support if they run into financial difficulties and these arrangements are being strengthened."