Police morale low as officers worry about austerity
LOW morale among police staff in the UK is being reflected by officers across our region, according to Wiltshire Police Federation chairman Mike White.
A survey of 3,335 police by Unison, the UK’s largest union, exposed high levels of stress, largely down to cuts to the service.
The respondents said job insecurity (60 per cent), a lack of support from management (50 per cent) and concerns about the cost of living and pay (52 per cent), contributed to the growth of stress at work among police.
Mr White said: “Police officers don’t feel quite as vulnerable in terms of redundancy because they can’t be made redundant.
“As we continue to feel the effects of austerity, police officers make the best of it and deliver a good service to the public and trying to keep it safe.
“We know officers are continually concerned about the levels of staff and that’s adding to the pressures on the frontline. Officers have been the subject of a pay freeze whilst the cost of living continues to rise.
“We are being expected to do more with less resources, that undoubtedly affects morale. It’s at the stage where people have had enough in the bigger forces.
“In Wiltshire, officers are still wanting to come to work and still want to do the job as best they can.
“These findings are reflected in police officers and, I suspect, the officers doing it 24-7 are feeling more battered and bruised than others.”
Patrick Geenty, chief constable for Wiltshire Police, said: “The police service is going through some challenging times at the moment.
“The three-fold pressures of responding to austerity measures, the increasing demand for high quality, localised services and heightened scrutiny of the service makes it arguably the most pressurised environment the policing profession has faced.
“I recognise this and I’m committed to making Wiltshire Police a great place to work. My officers and staff work incredibly hard in difficult circumstances.
“That’s why I believe it’s important that as an organisation we provide support for our staff, reduce bureaucracy and give them the tools they need to provide the best possible service to our communities.
“It’s not something you can fix overnight but I’m pleased to say we’re starting to see improvements; we monitor how staff and officers are feeling through our staff survey and, encouragingly, our overall employee engagement figure has increased in the last year.”
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