The negative impact of the Government’s attitude towards policing and police pay was clear from the results of the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) Pay and Morale Survey.
Police officers have voiced almost total dissatisfaction with the Government with a new survey revealing more than one in 10 regularly struggle to cover the cost of essential items.
Of 29,587 officers who responded, 95 per cent said their treatment had a negative impact on their morale, while 93 per cent stated they did not feel respected by Government.
In what was a clear indictment of the current state of morale within policing, 12 per cent of survey respondents said they intended to resign either within the next two years or as soon as possible, while 82 per cent of those who wanted to quit blamed poor morale and 77 per cent highlighted the treatment of police by Government.
The devastating financial implications of the wage freeze, rising inflation and pandemic were exposed by the survey results, with twice as many respondents (14 per cent) saying they were ‘never or almost never able’ to cover monthly essentials compared to the findings of a similar PFEW survey two years ago.
Disenchantment with current salary rewards was also clear, with a record 92 per cent of police officers saying they were not fairly paid for the stresses and strain of their job, while 66 per cent claimed they were unfairly paid compared to other key workers.
Worryingly for the future capability and welfare of the service, the survey recorded a year-on-year rise of 10 per cent in those who cited poor morale, with 58 per cent of respondents saying morale was low and 67 per cent revealing they would not recommend joining the service to others.
When asked about their treatment by the public, 84 per cent of respondents said this had a negative impact on morale, while 78 per cent said they did not feel the police were respected by the public.
National Vice-Chair Ché Donald said: “Police officers have now reached breaking point. Having stepped up during the pandemic, faced rising levels of assaults, continually changing rules and legislation, the reward for their efforts was a zero percent pay award. Police officers heard the warm words, they saw Government ministers queuing up on television to give thanks. Yet that was quickly forgotten the moment it came to recognising their efforts in their salary.
“In the face of all of this, is it any wonder that police officers have little to no faith in this Government? Police officers are Crown Servants – we do not have employment rights and cannot take industrial action. So, the Government needs to demonstrate it understands this and reward officers fairly for the incredibly difficult and demanding job they do on behalf of society.
“As the undisputed voice of policing, we say the Government needs to restore police officers trust in it. It needs to understand what police officers are telling them and recognise the need for a fair, open and transparent mechanism for determining pay. Otherwise, the damage will see morale fall even further. It will see people leave police forces in droves and have a negative impact on the service’s capability for decades to come.”
Read the full survey here.