90 days from today is Tue, 22 October 2024

West Mercia Police Federation

Force has second worst levels of morale, new survey reveals

10 April 2024

West Mercia Police officers are reporting the second lowest levels of morale in the country, with only the Metropolitan Police reporting lower levels.

A shocking 95 per cent of officers said their personal morale was low, while almost two-thirds (62 per cent) felt morale within the Force was low or very low.

The figures were exposed in the findings of the annual Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Pay and Morale Survey with West Mercia respondents also reporting the second highest figure in terms of not recommending others to join the police (82 per cent, compared to 73 per cent nationally). A total of 52 per cent of West Mercia officers disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were treated fairly, the third highest level in the country behind the Met and Suffolk Constabulary.

The survey also revealed:

  • 96 per cent of respondents from West Mercia Police said they do not feel respected by the Government

  • 85 per cent indicated that they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months

  • 78 per cent said they did not feel valued within the police

  • 70 per cent felt their workload was too high

  • 56 per cent of officers were unable to take breaks

  • 47 per cent find the job too stressful

  • 43 per cent of respondents were ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with opportunities for training and 48 per cent reported being ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with the Professional Development Review (PDR) process

  • Only 11 per cent had access to double crewing.

Steve Butler, chair of West Mercia Police Federation, said the survey results made for sombre reading.

“It is quite shocking to find that West Mercia has the second lowest level of morale in the country, particularly when you consider we are second only to the Met,” he explains, “While some of the reasons given for low morale are national issues, such as pay, pensions and the way in which the Government treats the police service, there are also some more local issues, including workloads, work-life balance and opportunities for career development that the Force and our senior officers need to look at.

 

 

“The Federation has been saying for some time now that the Government needs to ensure the police service is properly resourced, and that means longer-term funding settlements and sustained investment. It also needs to ensure that officers are paid a salary that reflects the challenges of their role, the dangers the face and their unique place in our communities. But on top of that we need to know that our pay review process is fair, the current system is far from fair or independent which is why we have withdrawn from that process.

“Of course, with a General Election on the horizon, we are unlikely to see any real response from the Government when the survey results are digested. However, whichever party forms the new Government later this year, politicians must make addressing officers’ concerns a key priority.

“In the meantime, as a Federation, we will work with the Force to address the findings that relate to local issues and we look forward to speaking to chief officers in the coming days, weeks and months so that we can work together to bring about improvements to make a difference for our members.”

The Federation’s Pay and Morale Survey obtains members’ views on their pay and conditions, as well as their attitudes to their work and the police service in general. It is one of the largest annual surveys of police officers conducted within England and Wales and has been conducted annually since 2014. 

The 2023 survey was launched on 6 November 2023 and closed on 11 December 2023. During this time, a total of 639 responses were received from West Mercia Police Federation members, representing a response rate of around 26 per cent - based on March 2023 Home Office figures of officer headcount.

The reasons they gave for low morale were: how the Government treats the police (cited by 97 per cent of respondents); how the public treat the police (86 per cent); pay and benefits (83 per cent); workload and responsibilities (71 per cent); pensions (66 per cent); work-life balance (54 per cent), and opportunities for development and promotion (46 per cent).

The survey revealed eight of ten West Mercia respondents said they were ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their overall remuneration including basic pay and allowances) with 17 per reporting ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ having enough money to cover all their essentials.

Over a third (36 per cent) have experienced verbal insults, including swearing, shouting and abuse, at least once a week in the past 12 months, with 13 per cent subjected to unarmed physical attacks, such as wrestling, hitting and kicking) at least weekly in the same period.

But, despite these figures, 71 per cent of respondents reported their overall physical health is ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

“We are grateful to all our members who took the time to fill out this survey,” says Steve, “We hope the Force and the Government acts on the findings. As a Federation, we are committed to representing our members, ensuring they have a voice and that their views are listened to. We will continue to put their views forward and to campaign to bring about the improvements to pay and morale that are urgently needed.”

Read the full report.