Derbyshire Police Federation

Annual pay and morale survey reveals effects of pandemic

2 December 2020

More than half of Derbyshire Police Federation members reported low morale in an important new survey that shines a light on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey was carried out across all 43 forces in England and Wales by the Police Federation of England and Wales giving more than 130,000 Federation members their first opportunity to provide detailed feedback on how policing the pandemic had affected their finances and wellbeing.

In Derbyshire, 51 per cent of respondents said their morale was low or very low. The national average was 48 per cent. A total of 63 per cent felt morale in the Force was low or very low compared to 75 per cent nationally.

The main reasons for the low morale were how the police were treated as a whole (88 per cent), pay and benefits (75 per cent) and the Covid-19 crisis (69 per cent).

In terms of the pandemic, 52 per cent of respondents said the Force has managed officers well during the pandemic, higher than the national average of 49 per cent.

The survey revealed 48 per cent of Derbyshire respondents felt they had received adequate training on the crisis compared to 41 per cent nationally while 78 per cent said the Force had kept them up to date on Covid-19 related guidance, in line with the national figure.

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton said: “While the Force is performing better than many in terms of handling this crisis, there’s still work to do.

“The pandemic has impacted on everyone, none more so than officers who’ve been under huge pressure to police the lockdown and various rule and tier changes while carrying on with their day job.

“They’ve even been targeted by thugs who’ve sought to weaponise this deadly virus and all the time they’re worrying about whether they’re taking it home to their loved ones.

“No wonder many members are saying their morale is low. We’ll be sharing the survey with the Force and urging them to take the results on board and to work with us going forward.”

Other key findings in Derbyshire were:

Pay and remuneration

  • 88 per cent of respondents didn’t feel fairly paid for the stresses and strains of the job
  • 78 per cent didn’t feel fairly paid for the hazards they faced
  • 71 per cent said they were dissatisfied with their overall remuneration, including pay and allowances
  • 33 per cent worried about the state of their finances daily or almost daily
  • More than half (54 per cent) felt they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, and six per cent reported never or almost never having enough money to cover their essentials.

Attitudes towards the police

  • 54 per cent of respondents from Derbyshire Constabulary said they didn’t feel valued within the police
  • 62 per cent said they wouldn’t recommend joining the police to others

Fair treatment

  • 36 per cent said they aren’t treated fairly compared to 40 per cent of respondents from Derbyshire Constabulary who feel they are treated fairly.

The annual Federation pay and morale survey gathers members’ views on pay and conditions, as well as attitudes to work and the police service. Since 2014, it has been one of the largest annual surveys of police officers conducted within England and Wales.

This year’s survey covered a wide range of subjects and canvassed views on topics such as pay, the cost of living, morale and the proposed police officer uplift.

It was compiled by the national Federation’s research and policy department, which plays a vital part in providing strategically important evidence to achieve better pay and conditions for members.

The survey generated more than 25,000 responses which is around 20 per cent of all Federated rank officers across England and Wales.

National Federation chair John Apter said: “These results should give serious concern to chief constables and to government. The low morale reported by officers comes as no surprise, but the police service needs to take its head out of the sand and acknowledge we have a serious issue.

“My colleagues take the time to fill in these surveys and give their honest views, so it would be a failing by police leaders to ignore what is being said.

“This year, more than ever, officers have been put under significant pressure, dealing with the day job as well as policing the constantly changing Covid rules.

“Despite doing their very best, they have been turned into the villains of this pandemic by some, damned whatever they do; and this constant criticism takes its toll.

“While it might come as a surprise to some, police officers are human beings; they have their own worries about the virus and the fear that they take it home to their families.

“I accept that the wellbeing of police officers is considered more now than it has ever been in the past, there is some good work going on in some forces, but the benefits of this good work are still not being felt by all of our members and that is a serious issue.

“This must be seen for what it is, a cry for help from police officers who need to ensure their voice is heard. If these results are ignored by police leaders, then this will be a failing that will be unforgivable.”

Read the full report.

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