11 January 2023
Officers at Cumbria Constabulary are overworked and underpaid, new research has revealed.
Eight in ten officers are dissatisfied with their overall remuneration and 14% ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ have enough cash to cover the essentials, according to the latest Police Federation Pay and Morale Survey.
77% of respondents from Cumbria Constabulary said that over the last 12 months, their workload has been ‘too high’ or ‘much too high’, the survey found.
85% of officers told researchers they were ‘worse off’ financially than they were five years ago, with 98% of them reporting an increase to the cost of living.
Last year police officers across England and Wales were given an average of a 5% pay rise – but this was way below inflation booming now at more than 10%. Household bills are rising sharply and over the past 12 years police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 25%.
Officers’ wellbeing is also faltering, the research showed, with eight in ten saying they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months, and half finding their job ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressful.
16% said they intend to resign from the police service ‘within the next two years’ or ‘as soon as [they] can’, citing pay, morale and how they are treated by the Government as reasons.
And bobbies are under attack from the public too. 17% have experienced unarmed physical attacks (struggling, wrestling, hitting, kicking) at least once per week in the past 12 months and 19% had suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention as a result of work-related violence in the last year.
Paul Williams, Chair of Cumbria Police Federation, said: “The stats speak for themselves - and the scary thing is we are not at all surprised. Policing should never have been allowed to get into such a state and we constantly find ourselves worse off with no end in sight.
“Over a decade ago we were accused by the Government of crying wolf when austerity began and it turns my stomach to hear the Government frankly hoodwink the public into thinking that a recruitment drive of an ‘extra’ 20,000 police officer will solve all of our problems and is investment in policing.
“It’s a fact that police officer pay has fallen 25% when compared to inflation over the past 12 years. A real term cut that is unsustainable when the cost of living is so high.
“These statistics demonstrate a serious lack of reward and recognition for how our members have faced the most difficult times. Policing during a global pandemic with multiple forms of legislation being thrown at them with an expectation to digest and enforce, rewarded with another pay freeze. It’s little wonder that our members feel they are not being treated fairly by the Government. Policing is a unique occupation, there is no other like it hence why we can’t strike. That said we don’t want to, but we also don’t want to be at the bottom of the pile while picking up the pieces for a country in crisis.
“I am representing officers in Cumbria who show tremendous courage in horrific and dangerous circumstances. Putting their lives on the line to save others for 25% less pay and expectation to do more in the face of increasing hostility and risk of physical attack. In the year 2023 that is one sorry state to see.
“Our members don’t need a pat on the back and to be told they’re doing a good job, they know this already. Our members want to live and work without fear of having to run out of money before the end of the month or worry about paying their mortgage and feeding their families.”