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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Federation survey shows impact of pandemic on officers

1 February 2021

The 2020 Federation demand, capacity and welfare survey has revealed the huge impact that policing the pandemic has had on officers and led to the national chair again calling for officers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The biennial survey, which forms part of the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB), was conducted towards the end of last year and was branded the most important of its kind.

There were 132 responses from Hertfordshire members, which equates to around six per cent.

“That is quite a disappointing response but there appears to have been quite a low response-rate nationwide,” says Geoff Bardell, chair of Hertfordshire Police Federation, “I think it just a further sign of how busy our members are. They are really stretched trying to juggle their workloads with the additional pressures of policing the pandemic.

“While parts of the Hertfordshire report on the survey results make quite difficult reading, there are some positive signs too. The Force has made improvements in some areas and there are also some questions where we come out better than other forces.

“I have already discussed the report with the Chief Constable. We have highlighted areas to work together on, as well as the positives identified.”

The survey revealed that 84 per cent of Hertfordshire members who responded said they had felt stressed, anxious and suffered low mood and other health and wellbeing issues in the last year.

But, despite that, 74 per cent indicated their overall health was good or very good.

More than two thirds (68 per cent) said they had all the equipment they needed to protect them from Covid-19 while at work, a quarter (25 per cent) reported that they were very or extremely worried about the impact that the Covid-19 crisis will have on them personally and only four per cent reported that they have had Covid-19 confirmed by a positive antigen or antibody test.

Nationally, the survey showed 26 per cent of respondents believed they had contracted Covid-19, with almost half (45 per cent) believing they contracted it through work-related activities.

PFEW national chair John Apter said: “The results of this survey have come directly from our members – those police officers who are on the frontline dealing with whatever society throws at them. It clearly shows the huge pressure officers are under policing the pandemic and the negative impact on their welfare, with half of respondents saying they have been physically attacked and one in three having been spat at by someone claiming to have the virus.

“As well as having an incredibly challenging and demanding job and all the pressures that go with it, police officers are also human beings with the same stresses as everyone else. This survey shows the harsh reality of policing during a period when police officers have simply done the best they could to help and protect the public.

“Yet the increasing level of violence they face, especially involving the weaponising of the virus, is a sad indictment of the society we live in. Government must hear them; they must be given all the protection they need to protect themselves and this includes being prioritised for the vaccine.”

Read more about the Hertfordshire survey results.

 

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