Police officers: 'undervalued and under pressure'

27 October 2016

Police pay and morale survey

The way police are treated is the biggest contributor to why more than half of rank-and-file officers suffer from low morale.

The findings come from the annual Pay and Morale Survey undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW). In total 45,000 officers, equivalent to 35% of all federated ranks, took part in the survey, the biggest response rate to date.

Results showed that over half of respondents (55.9%) said their own morale was low and cited the way police as a whole are treated (84.2%), pay and benefits, including pensions, (70.9%), and work-life balance (58.2%) as key reasons for this.

Steve White, PFEW Chair said: “We know that the majority of the British public understand the difficulties and challenges our members face on a daily basis and are grateful for the work we do. Unfortunately, the negative voices tend to be the ones we hear the most, which can leave officers feeling undervalued and despondent, as this survey shows.

“Millions of people have encouraging and valuable interactions with police officers in their communities, and we want them to speak up. Our Believe in Blue campaign is one way to tell officers, and the wider public how they value what police do.”

The survey also found that most officers are dissatisfied with their level of pay, given the strains, stresses and hazards of their daily job.

60% of respondents felt dissatisfied with their level of pay; 89% said they were unfairly paid considering the stress and strains of the job, and 84% felt their pay was unfair given the hazards they faced on the job.

The survey results will be used as evidence in PFEW’s submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body at the end of the year.

Steve White said: “What is deeply worrying is that whilst the majority of respondents are proud to be in the police, more than two thirds wouldn’t recommend joining.

“Yes, the job is tough and demanding but it’s also never-ending. With budgets cuts have come fewer officers, diminished resources and increasing crime; our members are feeling the strain – and want to be adequately remunerated.

“This survey is an important source of evidence to help the Pay Review Board understand the impact that changes to pay and conditions have on our members, and we urge them to take what officers are saying seriously.”

Other headline statistics from the survey include:

•    61% of officers are proud to be in the Police
•    67.3% of officers did not feel valued in the Police
•    69.9% of officers would not recommend joining the service
•    75.8% of officers did not apply for a promotion last year.  The main reasons were:
      o    They enjoy their current role (33.4%), and
      o    They are happy at their rank (27.9%),
      o    It wouldn’t be worth the extra responsibilities and pressure (26.8%)
      o    There was little point as there were no positions available (26.7%)

The Pay and Morale Survey 2016 Headline Statistics have also been broken down by force region.

The PFEW survey is the only police workforce survey to gather consistent data on officers’ experiences across all 43 forces.