Derbyshire Police Federation

Morale, stress and demand taking their toll

23 September 2019

Low morale, stress and soaring demand are the main factors behind officers leaving the police service, a Federation survey has revealed.

More than half of respondents (51 per cent) who took part in the rolling survey between October 2017 and April 2019 said their morale had a large part to play in their decision to leave the service.

The Police Federation of England and Wales survey also revealed:

  • 40 per cent of leavers said stress was one of the contributory reasons
  • 41 per cent said their psychological health was a driving factor, and
  • 39 per cent reported their physical health contributed to their decision.

John Apter, national Federation chair, said: “These findings do not surprise me at all. This is yet more evidence, if it were needed, to prove to the Government and chief constables that my colleagues are at breaking point – or are unfortunately already broken - and have been driven to leave the service due to low morale, stress and soaring demand.

“The service has been cut to the bone since 2010 with 22,000 fewer officers to protect the public, leaving our dedicated members with little option but to operate in a pressure-cooker environment, doing double the workload – now more likely single-crewed - with cancelled rest days and holidays.

“Police officers are not robots, they are human beings. They are exhausted and consistently exposed to things people should never have to see with a large proportion also leaving because of the toll taken on their psychological health.

“Our members who have served 10 to 20 years were more likely to leave due to poor psychological and physical health which is something policing should be ashamed of. The apparent lack of willingness to fight to retain our most experienced officers is simply inexcusable and more must be done to ensure we look after our people.”

However, the survey’s finding also showed eight out of 10 were leaving policing because they had reached pension age with having access to their pension (63 per cent) and length of service (54 per cent) cited as their reasons for retiring.

Almost threequarters (71 per cent) of those who completed the survey said interesting and varied work had a big influence on their motivation to join with 75 per cent saying they were satisfied with how interesting and varied their work had been

Job security was the factor respondents were most satisfied with (79 per cent) while opportunity for career advancement was the factor they were least likely to say they were satisfied with (27 per cent).

The findings are based on the current total of 1,022 respondents to the rolling leavers’ survey during the 18-month period between October 2017 and April 2019.

The PFEW Leavers’ Survey opened on 25 October 2017 and there is no designated closing date.

The survey is open to any officer who is leaving within the next three months, including those who are retiring, resigning or being required to leave by their force.

Read the full survey report.



February 2024