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Surrey Police Federation

PFEW Pay and Morale Survey: More than half of officers worse of financially than five years ago

2 December 2020

Of the Surrey Police officers who responded to the 2020 Pay and Morale Survey, 60% said they felt they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, and 34% worried about their finances every day or almost every day.

The survey results come out just as the Chancellor announces a public sector ‘pay pause’ for all workers outside the NHS, apart from those on less than £24,000.

Of the 435 Surrey Police officers who completed the survey, 73% said they were dissatisfied with their overall remuneration (including basic pay and allowances) and 7% said they never or almost never had enough money to cover all their essentials.

Surrey Police Federation Chair Melanie Warnes said: “It is no surprise that 60% of Surrey Police officers who were surveyed felt worse off financially than five years ago. Low pay increases, a rise in National Insurance and pension contributions and an ever-increasing cost of living will have an impact.

“A ‘pay pause’ for the next year will not help officers feel any different, if anything it will be worse. Some officers will have partners not in the police service who have seen job losses, redundancies and pay reductions throughout this year.”

Melanie added that it was “worrying” that 7% of officers couldn’t cover their essentials, and that this mirrored national figures. She said: “This is a national issue and needs to be taken seriously.”

This all has knock-on effects, she said: “Financial vulnerability will make officers worry and stress and this will impact negatively on their work. They will be lacking in sleep and have difficulty concentrating at work.”

Half of the respondents in Surrey said their morale was low, while 79% said that morale within the force was currently low.

Meanwhile 59% said they would not recommend joining the police to others, and 12% said they intended to leave the police service either within the next two years or as soon as possible.

Melanie said a major reason for low morale was how police were treated. She said: “Police officers are not respected any more, and this will obviously have an effect on how they are feeling.”

She was also concerned by the numbers wishing to leave the service. She said: “Surrey Police already struggle with retention, having one of the worst retention figures in the country. Much is done with regards to rewards and recognition, and the force does offer extra incentives that other forces don’t, however this is not always enough, as the figures show.”