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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Avon and Somerset Police Pay and Morale Report

10 April 2024

 

81% of Avon and Somerset Police officers feel ‘worse off’ financially now than they were five years ago and 19% ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ have enough money to cover all their essentials.

According to the 2023 Police Federation of England and Wales Pay and Morale Report – published today - 92% of respondents have seen living cost increases in the previous month and 74% of officers are dissatisfied with their pay.

Worryingly, 12% of Avon and Somerset Police who responded to the survey said they intend to resign from the police service either ‘within the next two years’ or ‘as soon as [they] can’.

Whilst Police Officers received a 7% pay rise in 2023, they have still seen an incredible 16% real-terms pay cut over the past 12 years. 

Police chiefs have pointed out that the high cost of living in the UK is placing an even bigger strain on officers, as well as hampering recruitment. They have asked the Government for officers to receive a 6% pay rise in 2024. 

Officers are also struggling with low morale and lack of support, the survey found. 94% of officers said they do not feel respected by the Government, and 54% said they were experiencing low morale.

66% of respondents from Avon and Somerset Police said that they would not recommend joining the police to others. 68% said they do not feel valued within the service.

Iain Prideaux, Acting Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “Recruitment and retention within our ranks rely on Avon and Somerset Constabulary being an employer of choice and it is deeply worrying to read that 12% of the Federated ranks is considering leaving.

“That concern is replicated nationally but the Constabulary can ill afford to lose over 350 officers. The most frequently cited reason for leaving is low morale, the impact of the job on officer’s mental health and wellbeing and how the Government treat us.

“Many members tell me they are bench marking their pay against a delivery driver earning between £26,000 - £32,000 per year. So, for the first 4 years of their service, officers are earning the same as someone carrying much less threat, harm and risk. It is unsurprising that 54% of officers have low or very low morale and 84% report feeling the Constabulary has low or very low morale.

“The Constabulary has moved officers, previously told they couldn’t move, under patrol stabilisation with huge repercussions to their personal and professional lives. There are vacancies within patrol and an ever increasing demand, and members frequently report concerns about insufficient numbers of officers parading for duty.

“Although, 72% of members reported their physical health was good, 85% reported having experienced stress, low mood, anxiety and other difficulties with their health and wellbeing and 20% reported having suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention. You do not come to work to be assaulted and the Federation fight tirelessly to ensure you have the best uniform, training and PPE to protect you.

“Excessive workloads, feeling pressured to work long hours and high levels of stress, sadly feature too. Although the financial crisis may lead many of you to benefit from overtime, subject to an exigency of duty, you must not be placed under pressure to work long hours which inevitably leads to stress, poor performance and ill health.

“Government must focus on officer’s pay and pay scales to ensure recruitment and especially retention. It is concerning to hear that some officers have opted out of the pension scheme and the Federation will fight for a proper increase in pay this year. In the Constabulary’s annual People Survey in 2023, staff reported concerns with the Constabulary’s management of change, confidence in senior leaders decision making and senior leaders having a positive effect on morale.

“With 66% of members not recommending policing as a career and 68% reporting they do not feel valued within the service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary has some way to go to ensuring that they are an employer of choice for those wishing to join and those seriously thinking of leaving.” 

Officers are coming under attack from the public too, the report showed, with 20% having suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention as a result of work-related violence in the last year.

Only 15% of officers who responded reported having access to double crewing at all times whilst on duty.

72% of respondents from Avon and Somerset Police said that over the last 12 months, their workload has been ‘too high’ or ‘much too high’. 5% of officers said that they have ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ been able to take an 11-hour break between shifts in the last 12 months and 34% said they feel ‘always’ or ‘often’ feel pressured into working long hours.

Sadly, 85% of respondents from Avon and Somerset Police indicated that they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months, and 50 % said that they find their job ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressful.

The survey is based on 704 responses received from Avon and Somerset Police officers.

Iain concluded: “Thank you to all of the members who took time from their busy lives to complete the Federation survey, it provides a valuable voice to the concerns you and I hold regarding your pay, morale and working conditions.”