Derbyshire Police Federation

Lack of social spaces impacts officers’ wellbeing

2 May 2024

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says the lack of social spaces for officers to decompress between jobs has had a big effect on their welfare.

Tony said the absence of police canteens and other areas for members to talk to colleagues or to take time for themselves continues to have an impact.

Tony said: “Cops are not robots and are allowed to eat and drink on their shift.

“Canteens used to give them a space to have a proper break without being judged by the public.

“They were also a space to decompress after a job and perhaps talk a job through with a colleague.

“Along with police social clubs, they gave officers somewhere at the end of a shift to wind down and to get support from colleagues.



“Having a staff canteen with reasonably priced, or even subsidised, nutritious food would make a huge difference to morale and wellbeing.

“The value of having somewhere like that can’t be underestimated and they’ve been a huge loss to policing that I have no doubt has and is impacting the morale and wellbeing of members.

“However, during austerity, the cost was considered more important than the value.”

Tony said the loss of social spaces, added to cuts in pay, made it more difficult to recruit and retain officers.

“People wonder why our recent survey found morale was low and officers were thinking about leaving,” he said. “It’s not rocket science.

“When we talk about cuts to pay and conditions, the loss of social spaces and canteens have to be seen in that context.

“Not only have members not really got anywhere to go, they’re not afforded the time to debrief or chat to each other, and that’s bound to impact morale.”

Tony acknowledged that the Force has provided a number of wellbeing rooms, and this is something the Federation has supported.

He continued: “We are also aware of discussions around potential options for providing refreshments and meals around the Force, but these discussions are in the early stages and we don’t know what they will lead to.

“We continue to encourage the Force to consider the welfare and wellbeing of officers and staff, both in existing premises and as part of the estate plan for future buildings.”

Tony said that this is one of the main things the government should be considering when funding levels are decided.

He ended: “Forces should be able to make plans with confidence in the financial position they will be in – at least for the medium term.”

Tony was commenting after the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) launched a study into the role canteens and shared spaces play in policing and police wellbeing.

Click here to take part in the research.

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July 2024