11 January 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says his members are at breaking point as a new survey reveals their morale continues to be among the worst in the country.
The Federation’s annual pay and morale survey gathered responses from more than 800 rank and file officers in Derbyshire (41 per cent) and found that 92 per cent felt that morale in the Force was low or very low.
This is an increase of one per cent on last year when Derbyshire was found to have the lowest morale in England and Wales. The national figure is 87 per cent.
Personal morale is also among the lowest in the country. This year 63 per cent of Derbyshire Police Federation respondents said their morale was low or very low. Only the West Mercia and Dorset police forces had a higher figure, while the national average was 56 per cent.
Published today (Wednesday 11 January), the survey found that the main reasons for low morale was how police are treated by the Government (94 per cent), pay (85 per cent), and how police are treated by the public (80 per cent).
A total of 51 per cent of Derbyshire officers disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were treated fairly, the fourth highest score nationwide, behind only Dorset, Staffordshire and Cleveland.
Tony said: “It’s extremely worrying that morale among our members continues to be at this dire level. The response from officers around the country demonstrates just how low they feel, and it’s really important to acknowledge that Derbyshire officers are feeling it keenly. The fact is that more than 800 Derbyshire officers participated in this survey and made it absolutely clear that they do not feel they are treated fairly.
“Officers are at breaking point as they deal with a lack of regard from the Government and respect from some members of the public; the rising cost of living; high workloads and poor pay; a crisis in their mental and physical health, and the legacy of 12 years of underfunding.
“Over the last decade they’ve had a real terms cut to their pay amounting to around 25 per cent, seen hugely damaging cuts to police officer and support staff numbers, cuts to training and infrastructure, all while the workload has massively increased, respect has plummeted and physical attacks on our members continue to rise.
“No wonder morale is at an all-time low. It’s going to need a huge change in attitude from the Home Office and the Treasury to turn it around, starting with a proper pay award, acceptance that we need a fair system for negotiating pay and proper long-term funding for the service.
“It is disgraceful that only 6 out of every 100 police officers think that the Government treats them fairly. These survey results should be a wake-up call for those responsible for looking after a group of professionals who do not have the option of taking the industrial action we are currently seeing being exercised in so many other sectors.
“While the survey results are once again alarming, I want to reassure all Derbyshire officers that the Federation continues to work with the Force to address the issues impacting on its members locally. Those issues are raised with supervisors, senior and chief officers and discussed regularly.”
Tony added: “We hope that some of the work being done in Force will see working conditions improved for our members. For example, the introduction of the Crime Directorate this week will hopefully ease some of the pressure on overworked detectives. We continue to be heavily involved in Operation Resolve which seeks to improve working practices and develop the quality and effectiveness of internal communication. We have an excellent group of Federation representatives and encourage officers to discuss their concerns with their local rep to inform that work and those discussions.”
Chief Constable Rachel Swann has responded to the findings of the report which followed an online survey of officers across England and Wales by the national Police Federation.
The Chief said: “The pay and morale survey continues to give us some insight into how frontline officers feel about policing and the Force. The challenges across policing remain high; while some we have little control over, such as pay and the impact of Government scrutiny, along with other chief constables I continue to lobby Government for fair and equitable treatment.
“Across Derbyshire Constabulary, I am pleased to see there have been some improvements in the results. In Force, we have introduced Operation Resolve, which has seen us bring in a number of things to reduce demand and lessen workloads, it also gives people the opportunity to put forward ideas about how we can improve how we work.
“Our occupational health offer is being brought back in-Force and this will ensure that we have a service that works for people when they most need it. There is work ongoing to improve the Force, I want people to be proud to be a part of Derbyshire Constabulary, to want to come to work, to see that they do a good job and feel valued, and I am committed to ensuring we are a Force which treats people fairly and has strong leadership across the board – whether that be ensuring that everyone gets a Check-in (the Force’s PDR equivalent), or making sure there are clear opportunities for development and promotion. There is still much for us to do, but we have a shared determination to make sure improvements continue to be made.”
The survey also found that 86 per cent of members felt they were financially worse off than five years ago.
More than four out five (82 per cent) said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their overall remuneration, while 12 per cent reported never or almost never having enough money to cover all their essentials.
Other key findings in Derbyshire were:
Intention to leave
Workload and working time
Safety, violence and physical injuries
Health and wellbeing