14 February 2019
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says members are being put at risk after new figures showed 85 per cent of officers are often or always single-crewed.
The figure for single-crewing in the county is 10 per cent higher than the national average, and Tony says it is another illustration of how the Force has been hit by Government cuts.
He said: “Single-crewing puts both our members – and the public – at risk. But it has become the norm because Government cuts have left us down to the bare bones. The service is over-stretched, struggling to meet demand and that is putting officers under pressure and our communities at risk.”
The figure is revealed in the national Federation’s new Officer Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey, which is published today (Wednesday,13 February).
The survey found that 62 per cent of Derbyshire Police Federation respondents feel their workload was too high or much too high, compared to the national sample of 72 per cent.
And 79 per cent said there were not enough officers to do the job properly, more than 10 per cent lower than the national average (90 per cent).
Tony said: “While it is slightly encouraging that we are bucking the national trend in these statistics, it is still not great surprise that the overwhelming majority of our members feel they don’t have enough colleagues to do their job effectively and that their workload is too high.
“This is bound to have a detrimental effect on their overall health and wellbeing. We urgently need the backing and investment from the Government to provide an effective and robust police service, and to restore the morale of our members.”
The survey, which is the only national policing survey of its kind, was undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales in August and September last year. More than 18,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector give their views on the demand currently experienced by the service and how this has affected them, including 260 in Derbyshire, a response rate of 15 per cent. This is the second time this survey has been conducted, the first being in 2016.
Nationally, the results show:
• Almost every police officer has been exposed to at least one traumatic experience in their career, with 61.7 per cent saying they had experienced at least one of these types of incident in the last 12 months
• 79 per cent of officers say they have felt feelings of stress and anxiety within the previous 12 months with 94 per cent of those saying these difficulties were caused or made worse by their job
National Federation vice-chair Ché Donald said: “The police service’s most valuable resource is its people and these results should be a huge red flag to the Government, chief constables and the public. Officers are stressed, exhausted and consistently exposed to things people should never have to see – and these results show just how much it is taking its toll.”
He added: “I compel the Home Secretary who claims he gets policing to read this report and act on it and when he is finished reading it, share it with the Treasury. We need more money, more resources and more officers, so this public safety emergency can be addressed, and the pressure on officers eased before it is too late.”