90 days from today is Sun, 10 March 2024
7 July 2023
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has termed the HMICFRS’ PEEL inspection report 2021/22 as shining a spotlight on the real-world consequences of more than a decade of underfunding the UK’s police service.
PFEW Deputy National Chair, Tiff Lynch, said: “The Police Performance report reveals the impact of acute underfunding, leaving UK policing struggling to modernise. The PFEW has too often highlighted the low morale of our members due to poor pay, poor funding, and inadequate resources. This is reflected in the increasing attrition rates that the report highlights, and yet despite the suggested success of the Police Uplift Programme, forces are still operating with inadequate levels of officers.”
PFEW notes the report has rightly found that experienced offices are leaving the service, and forces are finding themselves left with more officers young in service than ever before. Without sufficient long-term investment by the Government, as recommended by the HMICFRS in its report, the system will continue to let down those working in the service and they will seek alternative employment. Ultimately, it is the public who will bear the consequences.
PFEW agrees with HMICFS that forces too often have knee-jerk reactions to long-term problems and are unable to work proactively enough to prevent issues of public concern from arising in the first place. “We have been calling for an increase and change in structure to funding awards for police forces from three to five years so that forces can properly budget, plan and train officers appropriately for each role,” Tiff added.
The organisation has time and time again reminded the Government that if the issue of long-term, sustained funding for the police service is not addressed, forces remain operating in crisis mode. “As the report highlights, every force which is operating in crisis mode is unable to utilise the systems they have at hand, meaning they are neglected and soon become outdated. Without the ability to effectively plan ahead to use the tools at their disposal, forces are unable to measure the impact of their work on crime rates or public confidence, let alone review how they recruit and retain officers,” Tiff commented.
PFEW acknowledges HMICFRS inspectors finding many forces are suffering because of excessive officer workloads. As the report notes, `many forces workloads are not manageable and that failure to recognise this and act on it risks investigations failing, the public being let down and yet more detriment to workforce well-being’.
Tiff concluded: “There is a common thread throughout this report that links the red flags PFEW have been highlighting repeatedly – a severe lack of funding leaving police forces up and down England and Wales struggling with demand, and officer levels. This is further leading forces to use outdated, cumbersome, and poorly understood systems and processes.
“If our members are to give the public the service they deserve, then long-term, sustained investment in policing must be the Government’s top priority. Only proper investment in the service will allow all the service to implement the procedures and training that are vital to improving policing and regaining public confidence and trust. This report rightly adds more pressure on the Government to take urgent action, invest in policing, improve police pay and officer morale, and restore policing to the respected and trusted public service it should be.”