Derbyshire Police Federation

More than half of Derbyshire officers reveal low morale

10 April 2024

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says the branch will continue to work with the Force to improve the morale of rank-and-file officers.

He was speaking as the Police Federation of England and Wales’s (PFEW) new Pay and Morale Survey shows that more than half of officers (55 per cent) in Derbyshire feel their morale is low or very low. This is compared to the national average of 58 per cent.

It’s a marked improvement on two years ago when 67 per cent of Derbyshire Police respondents to the survey said their morale was low or very low, the lowest in the country.

Tony said: “The results nationally are alarming and should serve as a wake-up call to the Government and police leaders.

“Derbyshire’s figures are broadly in line with the rest of the country, and we see some relative local improvement on the results we saw two years ago.

“Derbyshire Police Federation will continue to work with the Force to improve morale, and encourage it to address the issues that are in its gift to put right, such as welfare and workloads.”

The report found that two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) feel that the workload is too high or much too high. 35 per cent felt pressured to work long hours.

“That’s a concern,” Tony said. “On from that, 54 per cent are never or rarely able to take their full rest break.

“And five per cent say they aren’t getting 11 hours between their shifts.



“That’s very worrying in terms of the impact on their health and wellbeing.”

Tony added: "On health, safety and wellbeing, 31 per cent didn’t feel their health was at least good, which is worrying.

“More than eight out of 10 (82 per cent) have had stress, anxiety, low mood or other wellbeing difficulties over the past year.

“It’s concerning that so many officers – 75 per cent – are turning up for work in spite of problems with their physical health and 68 per cent in spite of issues with their mental health.

“And around a third report using annual leave to mask ill health absences.”

Following the release of the Pay and Morale Survey two years ago, the then Deputy Chief Constable, Kate Meynell, set up Operation Resolve to look at morale issues.

It seeks to improve working practices, reduce demand and lessen workloads, and gives an opportunity to put forward ideas that can improve how we work.

Tony said: “There has been a lot of work over the past two years under Operation Resolve, and that is now championed by the current Deputy Chief Constable Mr Simon Blatchley.

“We’ll continue working with the Force and encouraging it to keep looking to improve working conditions and the way officers feel valued while they’re doing the vital work they carry out keeping the Public safe.

“In terms of some of the improvements in Force, Derbyshire now has its own occupational health department, where it had been shared previously. That is growing and developing and we already see reduced waiting times for officers to begin receiving help when they need it.  The Force also has a dedicated health and wellbeing manager in Kate Smith.

“So there’s lots going on around wellbeing and welfare in Derbyshire, but policing remains in a parlous state in terms of morale nationally and that’s felt just as keenly here as anywhere else.”

Elsewhere in the report, 92 per cent of Derbyshire respondents feel they are not fairly paid for the stresses and strains of the job, while 75 per cent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their overall remuneration.

“That’s dire and something needs to change,” Tony said. “Which is why as a Federation we’re campaigning for a fairer system of negotiating police pay and also looking to ballot members on whether they want to seek the industrial rights enjoyed by other sectors.

“Officers should not be worried about paying their bills and keeping a roof over their heads while serving and protecting the public.”

The report also found that 73 per cent of officers in Derbyshire wouldn’t recommend joining the job to other people, 73 per cent don’t feel valued in policing, and 93 per cent don’t feel respected by the Government.

“The Government needs to heed this report,” Tony said. “The alarm bells should be ringing.”

In response to the results of the survey, Derbyshire's Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “We recognise that policing is experiencing huge challenges, high levels of scrutiny and there is also the impact that the cost of living is having on everyone.

“Our position in Derbyshire has improved slightly in comparison to previous years, and some other forces, but there is still much more for us to do.

“Pressures across the entire public sector mean policing often has to fill gaps for other agencies: supporting those in mental health crises, transporting patients to hospital and looking after missing children who have run away from care. Slowly we are starting to see the impact of things that we have introduced, such as the most appropriate agency work (right care, right person), where we are working to get other services to do more.

“In force, we remain committed to ensure we are looking after the wellbeing of our officers and staff. Bringing the Occupational Health Unit back in house is having an impact, we have invested in the Trauma Impact Prevention Techniques (TIPT) training to help people deal with the traumatic incidents they regularly face, and we have extended our Op Hampshire remit to not only include physical attacks but also hate crimes against officers and staff doing their jobs.

“While officer pay is something that is negotiated nationally, I continue to lobby Government to ensure policing is given fair and equitable treatment, and that they understand how vital policing is in keeping our communities safe. I am also working with other Chiefs in a bid to remove needless red tape and excessive paperwork, which distracts from core duties.

“The results of this survey resonate with what we as Chief Officers are being told by the workforce. Work is continuing to look at our demand, and ensure we have resources in the right place and that our processes are the most efficient they can be.

“Operation Resolve is also still receiving suggestions from officers and staff as to areas where improvements can be, and I am keen to hear from different sections of the workforce, so will be hosting a series of focus groups, along with the DCC and the ACCs over the coming months.”

Read the full Derbyshire Pay and Morale Survey.


June 2024