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Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

Pay and Morale Survey: 95% of Devon and Cornwall Police officers do not feel respected by the Government

16 February 2022

A huge 95% of Devon and Cornwall Police officers say they do not currently feel respected by the Government with 40% worrying about their finances every day.

The new figures from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) 2021 Pay and Morale Survey come after 12 years of pay caps and pay freezes for the police.

72% of respondents from Devon and Cornwall Police felt that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago and 10% of respondents reported never or almost never having enough money to cover all their essentials.

The negative impact of the Government’s treatment towards police officers and police pay is clear from the survey – 87% of respondents from Devon and Cornwall Police felt that morale within Devon and Cornwall is currently low.

And 70% of respondents from Devon and Cornwall Police said that over the last 12 months, their workload has been too high or much too high.

Last year police officers across England and Wales were given a 0% pay rise. Household bills are rising sharply and National Insurance is going up in April. Over the past 10 years police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 18%.

So it comes as no surprise that 71% of the 512 respondents from Devon and Cornwall Police said that they are dissatisfied with their overall remuneration.

Meanwhile 65% of officers who responded said they would not recommend joining the police to others and 13% of respondents from Devon and Cornwall Police said they had an intention to leave the police service either within the next 2 years or as soon as possible.

The Federation is urging MPs to support its campaign for a real-terms pay increase and a fair and independent mechanism to decide on police officer pay rises.

Andy Berry, Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Chair, said: “The results of our Pay and Morale Survey clearly illustrate the anger and disillusionment of our brave dedicated and brave colleagues and cannot be ignored.

“Police officers are realistic professionals who fully understand the public purse is not a bottomless pit. But the sheer unfairness of being snubbed for a deserved pay rise, added to rising inflation, the effects of austerity cuts and the pandemic, plus of course the forthcoming impact of the National Insurance increase, will not be forgotten by our members.”

Andy added: “The entire service is underfunded, and police officers have been totally undervalued by this Government, and therefore the relationship between those responsible for the public purse and those who serve the public has been damaged almost beyond repair.

“The Government has lost the trust of my colleagues, and its wilfully negligent attitude towards pay and funding has been devastating to morale and could impact on the service’s capability for decades to come.

“There is quite evidently a growing crisis in the wellbeing and mental health of those who head towards danger and a defined link between these issues and the diminishing pay packets. This has been caused by the Government’s neglectful approach to policing and uniquely threatens the long-term attraction and viability of the traditional 30-year career.”

Andy concluded: “There can be little doubt police officers more than stepped up during the pandemic, when they faced rising levels of assaults and almost unenforceable legislation. The Government then saw fit to ‘reward’ colleagues with a zero per cent pay increase, utilising an inherently unfair pay review process which ignored detailed PFEW representations and was biased against rank-and-file officers.

“People are our biggest and most valuable asset, and those in power need to realise if they continue to take police officers for granted the service will become less and less attractive as a worthwhile career. It is unprecedented that so many of our members want to resign before they have completed their full service, and for the future of policing this crisis needs to be urgently addressed through better pay and a new focus on the wellbeing of colleagues.”