13 February 2019
Officers stretched to the limit
Nine out of 10 Leicestershire Police Federation members who took part in a national survey on demand, capacity and welfare said they felt there were not enough officers to do the job properly.
The results of the survey, which was carried out nationwide by the Police Federation of England and Wales last August and September, were published today (Wednesday 13 February).
Leicestershire Police Federation chair Dave Stokes said: “These findings provide yet more evidence that Government cuts have left our service stretched to the limit and struggling to meet demand. We need our police to be properly funded, properly resourced and properly equipped.”
The survey, which is the only national policing survey of its kind, saw more than 18,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector give their views on the demand currently experienced by the service and how this has affected them. A total of 311 Leicestershire officers took part in the survey, a response rate of 18 per cent.
Leicestershire officers’ results also revealed that 85 per cent felt their workload was too high or much too high; 79 per cent said they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months and 79 per cent reported often or always being single-crewed.
But, while concerned about officers’ workload and wellbeing, Dave says he is not so comfortable with single-crewing being measured simply in percentage terms.
He explained: “Double-crewing is not always as efficient as people might think. It’s the actual incident that should dictate a double or single-crewed response. Policing has for decades had single-crewing models, with dedicated double-crewed cars. The immediate response vehicles (IRVs) we used to have had two experienced and skilled officers.
“This is what we should concentrate on ensuring this remains available to us. But to argue against single-crewing is in my opinion, unnecessary and an inefficient model of policing. I’ve never seen any evidence to suggest that single-crewing, increases risk to officers and I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that officers on their own, are assaulted more often. This is because each incident called into the police is risk-assessed. Sometimes, during calls that turn out to be violent, single-crewed officers meet up close to the incident and deal with it together.
This is the second time this survey has been conducted, the first being in 2016.
Nationally, the results show:
National Federation vice-chair Ché Donald said: “The police service’s most valuable resource is its people and these results should be a huge red flag to the Government, chief constables and the public. Officers are stressed, exhausted and consistently exposed to things people should never have to see – and these results show just how much it is taking its toll.”
He added: “I compel the Home Secretary who claims he gets policing to read this report and act on it and when he is finished reading it, share it with the Treasury. We need more money, more resources and more officers, so this public safety emergency can be addressed, and the pressure on officers eased before it is too late.”