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11 January 2023
Greater Manchester Police are topping the tables again; but this time it’s for all the wrong reasons.
The Police Federation of England and Wales’s (PFEW’s) Pay and Morale Survey 2022 has revealed the severity of the crisis faced by rank-and-file officers and highlighted a sense of deepening frustration towards the Government.
The Chair of Greater Manchester Police Federation Lee Broadbent said: “The survey’s findings reflect the Government’s failure to properly invest in policing and provide fair pay deals and safe working conditions for our members.
“The lack of long-term funding settlements means forces cannot effectively budget to future proof our service. As we swing from one ‘new’ Government idea to the next, we see money which could be spent on real term pay increases wasted, which causes frustration amongst our members who have seen their wage packets getting lighter every year.”
The survey revealed that 97% of Greater Manchester Police Officers reported their cost of living had increased in the last month, with 99% saying that the main reason was due to increases in their food shopping.
89% of GMP respondents also felt they were ‘worse off’ financially than they were five years ago with 86% saying they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their overall pay and allowances.
Lee added: “Retaining highly skilled and experienced police officers is going to be a real challenge in the next few years. Since 2011 we have received three years of pay freezes followed by below inflation pay awards meaning Police Pay is around 28% lower than it should be.”
“Last summer I raised concerns around retention after I found that 40% of the 208 voluntary resignations in GMP were experienced officers. Last year, nationally, 1,633 experienced officers voluntarily resigned from the police which is around 45% of all voluntary resignations.
“Recently I bumped into a colleague at Manchester’s Victoria train station, and we spoke about his transition from policing to trains. As we chatted, he said that more often than not there are more ex-police officers on duty on the trains then there are police officers within the station’s footprint.
“He and others frequently tell me that the main reasons they left policing was to find a better balance between work and homelife… less stress for better or equal pay.”
“This is reflected in this year’s survey which found 18% of Greater Manchester Police Officers saying they intended to leave as soon as they could and/or within the next two years with poor morale (85%), how they’re treated by Government (77%) the impact of the job on their mental health/wellbeing (74%) and pay (73%) being leading factors in that decision.”
The survey also found that frustration isn’t just aimed towards the Government. Many GMP officers have cited high workloads (78%), competing demands, long hours (54%) and lack of opportunities for developments (46%) as contributing factors to their low morale.
On this Lee added: “These findings paint the real picture of what it takes to turn an underperforming force around. Discipline and appearance has its place, but no amount of bulled boots, neatly cut hair or colour conforming nail varnish can replace the dedication and commitment to duty our members provide.
“Seemingly Greater Manchester Police are topping the tables again; But this time it’s for all the wrong reasons. GMP is performing because of the handwork, long hours and the sense of duty displayed by our members.
“We are fully aware of the pressures and high workloads you are operating under and we will continue to challenge the force, using legislation if required, to ensure they provide you with a safe working environment which extends to their obligation to reduce workforce burnout and stress.
“Our engagement and efforts so far are producing beneficial changes. Granted these changes may not be initially felt or communicated back to you given some of the political sensitivity, but the force are listening to us. I’ve previously been in discussion with the Deputy Chief Constable about staff engagement and it’s an area of work both he and I hope to advance and get results on this year.
“Better staff engagement will allow the force to properly and quickly understand where it is getting things wrong, allow it to react and hopefully create a better working environment for all. Where the force fail act, rest assured we will hold them to account.”