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Norfolk Police Federation

Pay Survey: Results Are A 'Red Warning Light'

11 January 2023

A worrying 84% of Norfolk Police officers feel ‘worse off’ financially now than they were five years ago.

And 16% ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ have enough money to cover all their essentials, according to the 2022 Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Pay and Morale Report, published this month.

A shocking 98% of officers had seen living cost increases in the previous month, the research found. More than 500 officers took part in the survey, and 79% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their pay.

Last year police officers across England and Wales were given an average of a 5% pay rise – but this was way below inflation, which is now at more than 10%. Household bills are rising sharply and over the past 12 years police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 25%.

Officers are also struggling with low morale and lack of support, the survey found. A huge 94% of officers said they do not feel respected by the Government, and 79% per cent said that morale was low at the force.

Officers are coming under attack from the public too, with a shocking two fifths having suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention as a result of work-related violence in the past year.

Low mood and poor wellbeing is also a problem at the force, with 65% saying they do not feel valued within the service, and six in 10 (61%) saying they would not recommend joining up to others.

Sadly, eight in 10 indicated that they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety, or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the past 12 months, and 43% said that they find their job ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressful.

And 13% of respondents told researchers that they intend to resign from the police service either ‘within the next two years’ or ‘as soon as [they] can’.

Andy Symonds, Chair of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “This is another red warning light on the dashboard that should be squarely in front of the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister.

“Officers are down 25% down on what they should be paid, and we’re even having to hand out food parcels to officers who are struggling – that can’t be right in 2023. Officers have got enough stress in their professional lives, let alone having to worry about whether they have enough money to be able to feed themselves or their family, or heat their house or get themselves to work. In our county officers need a car, and some have to drive long distances to work, so that’s another stress on their finances.

“But it’s not all about pay, it’s conditions too. Officers are having to plug the gaps in other sectors like the ambulance service and social work, and we’re not trained for that so morale is affected.

“We haven’t got the ability to strike, but when other public sector workers strike, the Government thinks, ‘Well, the police will cover the gap’. And we do. But that means more time away from our communities, not investigating crimes. That’s a big frustration for officers.

“And that’s coupled with the violence shown towards the police. Officers are starting to leave the service, deciding that this isn't the career for them, it’s not what they signed up to. We’re starting to see older officers leaving too – and they’re the backbone of the service.

“Members feel really under the cosh from this Government. I’m fed up with the Government treating us like a piece of rubbish on their shoe.”