IT BOTTLED UP A Bedfordshire Police ofcer, who wishes to remain anonymous, struggled with debt until he reached out to his local Federation. Here is his story…

“It was my childhood dream to be a police officer and when I joined the Force I was delighted. I had some debts from before I signed up, which I had been slowly paying off. However, my salary was lower than my previous job and I soon got to the point where I was struggling to make ends meet. “Like most dads I wanted to

give my family the things they enjoy, like day trips out and dinners at restaurants. But with only £60 in the bank after my debt repayments, I was struggling to even cover the basics like food or petrol for the car.

PFEW and Payplan are live-

streaming a debt management session at 3pm on 10 December. You can watch the event on our Facebook page and can submit questions in advance through: X3XXCDL

There are several organisations that you can turn to if you are worried about your finances, including some specifically aimed at police ofcers.

• Payplan: 0800 280 2816 • Police Mutual: • Debt Support Trust: 0800 085 0226

• The Money Advice Service: 0800 138 7777

• No1 Copperpot: 0161 741 3160 managing-debt

• Police Credit Union: 0121 700 1220

• Gamcare: 0808 8020 133

“The stress was eating away at me. I

lost weight; the world seemed dark; all I could see was debts. At work I would be talking to people then just stop and go blank. My wife knew the situation, but she was the only person – I was carrying this around inside of me like a weight. I know now that I didn’t need to be ashamed – people do get into debt. But back then, I wasn’t thinking clearly. “I never considered leaving the job. I had worked too hard to achieve my dream. I just had to find a way to make it all work. Then I contacted my local Federation and the secretary asked me in for a meeting. We had a good discussion and they were so supportive. I was referred to PayPlan, a company that manage your debts for you. They went through my finances with a fine- tooth comb and then worked with the lenders to arrange affordable monthly repayments. “Now, a year on I’m not only paying

my debts off but I’m saving money each month too. I used to dread pay day because I’d just watch the money drain from my account. Now I’m saving money,

it’s a world from where I was. To anyone in a similar situation, I would say ‘you are not alone – please reach out to people that can help’. Ignoring your situation won’t change it – it won’t go away on its own and it will eat you up. For your own mental health, speak to your local Federation. The email I originally wrote to mine sat in my drafts for weeks before I pressed ‘send’, but I can honestly say reaching out was the best thing I’ve ever done. “Everything has been turned around. I have my life back; my wife has her husband back and my kids have their dad back.”

Hayley Aley, Chair of PFEW’s

Wellbeing Sub Committee says: “The financial burden on some of our members really comes into sharp focus at this time of year. We know that many officers fear being in debt and how it might affect their career, because of the current Police Regulations. However, as long as you disclose the debt to your force, it shouldn’t harm your career. “Sharing money worries with those you’re closest to isn’t always possible but

ignoring these worries can make things worse. Like the Federation has been saying through our Hear ‘Man Up’, Think ‘Man Down’ campaign around mental health issues, if you are struggling please don’t suffer in silence. “Support is out there for you - speak to your Federation rep who can put you in touch with professional organisations who can help. “To help members who are

experiencing money troubles, we’re focussing all month on financial wellbeing, including gambling addiction. Our aim is to break the stigma that can surround these issues and ensure members know where to turn for the help they need. “

Hayley Aley


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