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West Midlands Police Federation

West Midlands Police Federation contact details

Government has to act on police pay and low morale

10 April 2024

A key priority for the new Government formed after the General Election must be reviewing the current process for determining police pay and committing to long-term and sustained investment in the police service, according to West Midlands Police Federation chair Rich Cooke.

Rich was speaking after a nationwide survey revealed 88 per cent of members felt morale in the Force was low or very low and 58 per cent felt their personal morale was low or very low.

While 96 per cent of West Midlands respondents said they do not feel respected by the Government,  97 per cent said the way the Government treats policing has impacted on their morale. Other factors affecting morale identified by respondents to the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Pay and Morale Survey included how the public are treated by the public (88 per cent), pay and benefits (85 per cent), workload and responsibilities (65 per cent) and pensions (65 per cent).

In addition, 85 per cent of members responding said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their overall remuneration including basic pay and allowances.

“I am not at all surprised that members are dissatisfied with their pay and feel that Force morale is so low but, as the breakdown of these figures reveals, the reasons for this are rooted in long-term under-investment, and consistent denigration of traditional policing” says Rich.

“The austerity years when police budgets were slashed reduced police officer numbers by around 2000 in West Midlands, many historic stations closed and continue to close to this day and once thriving hubs of productive activity became like ghost ships overnight.



"Recruitment and training all but ceased. Officers were deskilled from a position of flexible omnicompetence in the ability to competently respond as well as investigate. Neighbourhood policing shrank and intelligence dried up.

"The pressure on those left behind increased exponentially along with the demand from the public as partner agencies were also affected by severe cuts. This created a deep wound that could take decades to fix.

"We have now seen an investment in boosting our numbers through the Government’s Uplift Programme but officers are still lagging behind in terms of their pay and do not feel valued by Government. The legacy of pension changes means experienced, skilled officers are perversely, incentivised to leave the profession earlier.

“Years of below inflation pay rises and pension changes meant that in effect we had a massive real-terms pay cut (circa 20 per cent) facilitated by a mechanism for determining police pay in which police have no seat at the table, is appointed and has it’s remit set by the government. Even then, the Police Remuneration Review Body’s (PRRB) recommendation can be ignored by the Home Secretary.

“There is no question of arbitration, although this had worked when it was in place between 1980 and 2013, and colleagues in Northern Ireland and Scotland still retain this option.

“The Police Federation has rightly withdrawn from the current pay review body process in protest at the fact that it is not a fair system but I think which ever party is elected in the General Election later this year must take on board the findings of the pay and morale survey and review the Police Remuneration Review Body.

“Police officers want to see a return to a mechanism for determining police pay in which they, through the Federation, actually have a meaningful voice. As it stands, I am seeing no indication that either of the main parties has any intention to consider the way in which the review body works but improving police pay, and developing a more respectful approach to police officers, will go a long way to restoring officer morale.

“Police officers put their lives on the line each and every day to serve and protect their communities. This should be properly recognised by the Government so that the police service can offer the very best service to the people in our cities, towns and villages. Politicians need to make policing a key priority as their first duty is the safety and security of the public. We need a long-term strategy for sustained investment in policing.”

The PFEW 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, 789 responses were received from West Midlands Police, representing a response rate of around 10 per cent (based on March 2023 Home Office figures of officer headcount).

The West Midlands results also revealed:

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

  • 76 per cent of respondents from West Midlands Police said that they did not feel valued within the police

  • 70 per cent would not recommend joining the police to others

  • 63 per cent of respondents from West Midlands Police said that over the last 12 months, their workload has been ‘too high’ or ‘much too high’

  • 38 per cent have experienced verbal insults (swearing, shouting, abuse) at least once per week in the past 12 months

  • 20 per cent of respondents from West Midlands Police reported ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ having enough money to cover all their essentials

  • 15 per cent intend to resign from the police service either ‘within the next two years’ or as soon as possible

  • 13 per cent have experienced unarmed physical attacks (struggling to get free, wrestling, hitting, kicking) at least once per week in the past 12 months. 

Rich concluded: “There are some shocking figures in this report and we will be working with the Force to address the issues raised but we are also urging all our local MPs to digest the findings and to do their bit to address our concerns.

“Police officers have a unique role in our society and they deserve to be respected by the Government and fairly paid for the critical role they play in fighting crime, keeping people safe and protecting the vulnerable.”

Read the full report.