16 February 2022
A huge 92% of Wiltshire Police officers say they do not currently feel respected by the Government with 44% worrying about their finances every day.
The new figures from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) 2021 Pay and Morale Survey come after 12 years of pay caps and pay freezes for the police.
68% of respondents from Wiltshire Police felt that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago and 11% of respondents reported never or almost never having enough money to cover all their essentials.
The negative impact of the Government’s treatment towards police officers and police pay is clear from the survey – 73% of respondents from Wiltshire Police felt that morale within the force is currently low.
And 9% of respondents from Wiltshire Police said that over the last 12 months, their workload has been too high or much too high.
Last year police officers across England and Wales were given a 0% pay rise. Household bills are rising sharply and National Insurance is going up in April. Over the past 10 years police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 18%.
So it comes as no surprise that 73% of the 281 respondents from Wiltshire Police said that they are dissatisfied with their overall remuneration.
Meanwhile 58% of officers who responded said they would not recommend joining the police to others and 7% of respondents from Wiltshire Police said they had an intention to leave the police service either within the next 2 years or as soon as possible.
The Federation is urging MPs to support its campaign for a real-terms pay increase and a fair and independent mechanism to decide on police officer pay rises.
Phil Matthews, Wiltshire Police Federation Chair, said: “For 12 years now, Police officers have been at the brunt of the Government’s pay caps and freezes, the Police Federation of England & Wales’s Pay and Morale Survey has revealed a growing crisis within policing and rising anger with the Government.
“Police officers have reached breaking point, not only nationally but here in Wiltshire too. I cannot fathom how our Government expect officers to do the challenging job they do whilst continually cutting and freezing their pay. Officers are scrimping and saving so they can make ends meet.
“In any part of the country, policing is a unique and challenging role. To do this role in the one of the smallest forces in the country with the fourth lowest funding makes it even more challenging.
“I challenge every one of our MP’s here in Wiltshire to read and digest the shocking results of this survey and ask themselves if they have done enough to support policing. Consider the impact on police officers wellbeing and mental health while struggling through these difficult times.
“We have accepted the commonplace speak of the pandemic with regularly used terms like, unprecedented. Police officer left their families to go to work. In some cases, officers had to isolate from their own family members in order to be available to police this crisis. The thanks this government has given those officers making such an enormous sacrifice is to make them pay more national insurance and freeze their pay.
“This survey has shown that, here in Wiltshire, 92% of the 281 responding officers feel they are not respected by the Government. Nationally this figure is 93%, This devastating figure is a true call to the Government to stop their willfully neglectful attitude towards the easy targets that are police.
“I can’t help but wonder if policing is an easy target as the only emergency service forbidden by law from industrial action.”
Phil added: “In Wiltshire 44% of police officer worry about money almost every day. 68% of officers say they are worse off than they were five years ago with 88% of officer feel unfairly paid.
“Since the Winsor review policing has become a business that is managed by a Government that simply does not care what effect its actions has on the people within. With the current pay structures officers are not paid for skills like one in the private sector would be. We have officers in the front line of violence and disorder, dealing with some of the most gruesome offences imaginable which try a person’s mental wellbeing.
“The Government will show themselves on television praising policing then walk away from the camera and freeze the pay of those officers. Despicable. With Morale being at an all time low. 84% of officers in Wiltshire say pay has a negative impact on morale.
“We find ourselves each year in this position where we are having to fight for fair pay for police officers. The system in place for review of police pay as grossly flawed and is in need of urgent review in favour of a system that will show a transparent and fair set of policies for the ongoing, long term, review of police pay.
“I am very proud to Chair the Wiltshire branch of the Police Federation of England and Wales. We are the undisputed voice of policing and I call on all seven of our MPs in Wiltshire. Robert Buckland, Michelle Donelan, John Glen, James Gray, Danny Kruger, Andrew Morrison and Justin Tomlinson to ask themselves, can you do more? Can you support policing? With so many police officers struggling financially and considering leaving policing, we are in crisis and the results of this survey both locally and nationally need to be heard and change is needed urgently.”