Cheshire officers respond to Police Federation’s latest Pay and Morale Survey
The Police Federation of England and Wales’s (PFEW’s) Pay and Morale Survey 2022 has revealed the severity of the crisis faced by rank and file officers and highlighted a sense of deepening frustration for the Government for continuously failing to assist with reasonable pay and conditions.
The survey reflects the Government’s failure to invest in policing in the long-term leading officers to breaking point. Underfunded forces, and overworked and underpaid police officers is leading the profession to a level of crisis not seen before.
In Cheshire, at least 98 per cent of police officers reported facing a substantial increased cost of living between August and September 2022 with and increase in food and energy bills being the most common reasons.
Furthermore, 14% of police officers reported ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ having enough money to cover all their essentials.
The compelling findings have also illustrated a growing crisis in the wellbeing and mental health of police officers, with 85% indicating they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months.
An alarming number of officers (41%) did not feel that generally they ‘have enough officers to manage the demands being made on us as a team/unit,’ while 93% stated they are not paid fairly for the stresses and strains of their job.
The results clearly illustrate the anger and disillusionment of our brave colleagues and can no longer be ignored by the policymakers.
Of 470 officers who responded, 95% said their treatment by the Government harmed their morale with 83% saying the same for pay, while 95% stated they did not feel respected by the Government.
The long-term attraction and viability of the traditional 30-year career is jeopardised, as 16% of respondents said they intended to resign either within the next two years or as soon as possible; 88% of those who wanted to quit blamed poor morale, 83% attributed this decision to the treatment of police by the Government and 79% cited pay as the reason.
The vast majority 77% disclosed they are ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their overall remuneration (including basic pay and allowances).
Additionally, 70% of respondents said they would not recommend joining the police to others.
Almost 1 in 3 police officers reported facing verbal abuse in the past 12 months and 12% of them said they had suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention because of work-related violence in the last year.
In fact, 86% stated they are not paid fairly considering the hazards faced within their job.
Jamie Thompson, Chair of Cheshire Police Federation said:
“Firstly I’d like to thank all my colleagues who took the time to complete this survey. This was the largest turnout we have had for several years and shows the strength of feeling officers have. 36,669 officers took part nationally in the survey, which ran between September and October this year. In Cheshire, 407 officers responded.
A significant amount of the results come as no surprise as Police Officers are not exempt from the cost of living crisis so many of us are facing.
To understand why we are here needs to us to look at our recent journey. Pay has a considerable negative impact on morale but this hasn’t happened overnight. We have faced a decade of cuts and freezes to our pay, pension and a worsening of our conditions. This has made the overall package significantly less than it has been, meaning my colleagues are not appropriately remunerated for the job they are expected to do. This downward turn in morale comes from a constant and sustained attack on policing, whether that’s from policy makers, social media or other commentators.
With no access to any form of industrial rights, and no ability to negotiate on pay, we are easy prey for those wishing to make cuts to budgets.
I would urge the Government to reflect on why 95% of respondents feel let down and disrespected by them. We often hear the soundbites from those in Westminster about how they support our brave police officers, yet this is having no effect as words are pointless without action to back it up. If the Government want to win back the support of officers they need to invest in the people, ensuring officers get a meaningful pay award. The relationship between government and officers is damaged almost beyond repair which is why we need action now. I would also ask they offer longer term investment for forces, stopping the trend of single year settlements which mean forces cannot plan effectively.
We will continue to work with the force to address some of the other issues raised around perceptions of workloads and the general morale. Those discussions are already underway and have been very positive with a willingness from all sides to work together and do our part to make officers feel respected. The Government must take notice of those who cannot strike, not ignore the deepening crisis that is unfolding across policing in England and Wales. Without taking action and supporting police officers, our most valuable asset in the fight against crime, ultimately the public will suffer. Underpaid and overworked officers cannot offer the service the public ultimate deserve.”