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News Release: West Midlands Police officer morale among lowest in country

  • Posted On 30 Aug 2017

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    Morale


    The morale of officers at West Midlands Police is among the worst in the country - according to the findings of a pay and morale survey.

    Two thirds (66.3 per cent) of respondents from the Force said they were suffering from low personal morale – putting the Force in the top three. And 96 per cent said Force morale was low. This puts the Force fifth in this category – with 38 forces with a smaller proportion of respondents who feel that morale within their force is low.

    Reasons given for low morale by West Midlands Police Federation members were:

    •             How the police are treated as a whole, 90.4 per cent

    •             Pay and benefits, including pension, 74.1 per cent

    •             Health and wellbeing, 66.9 per cent

    •             Work-life balance, 64.7 per cent

    •             Opportunities for development and promotion, 62.6 per cent

    •             Workload and responsibilities, 57.7 per cent

    •             Treatment by senior managers, 56.2 per cent

    •             Day to day job role, 50.2 per cent.

     

    Steve Grange, secretary of West Midlands Police Federation which represents the Force’s constables, sergeants and inspecting ranks, said the results of the survey were of major concern but did not really come as a surprise.

    “We have been saying for some time that police officers are feeling demoralised,” Steve explains, “The cuts to Force budgets have meant officer numbers have been severely hit. We have lost 2,000 officers in the last seven years. With fewer officers to go around, we are finding that our members are run ragged as they try to do the job they joined to do – fighting crime, keeping the peace and protecting our communities.

    “Despite a fall in our numbers, we have seen no corresponding decline in demand for our help – in fact we have seen the opposite. As well as trying to tackle traditional crimes, we are trying to rise to the challenge of newer offences and a surge in cyber-crime while responding to the ongoing threat of terrorism. As the service of first and last resort, we never say no and find ourselves picking up the pieces when other agencies are unable to respond due to cuts to their own budgets.

    “Officers do not want to let the public down but they are feeling the strain; their mental and physical health is suffering as they try to do more with less and at the same time they feel undervalued by the Government which, while voicing support for the police in the wake of major incidents, has generally failed to get behind the police service.”

    The Force also featured in the top five when respondents were asked if they would recommend joining the police to others – with 74.9 per cent saying they wouldn’t. And over three quarters (77.5 per cent) say they did not feel valued in the police service. This compares to a national average of 68 per cent of respondents who said they did not feel valued.

    Another concerning area was fairness – with just 27.3 per cent of respondents from West Midlands Police agreeing that they were treated fairly and 37.4 per cent saying they are not. This ranks the Force fourth out of 43 forces for this indicator; there are 39 forces with a smaller proportion of respondents who do not feel fairly treated.

    A majority of 53.6 per cent said that decisions that affected them were not usually made in a fair way – leaving the Force in second place nationwide.

    And 43 per cent said that the people they worked with were not fairly treated, compared to 24.4 per cent who said they were.

    The survey, which was carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales, also highlighted a four per cent increase in the number of officers who are intending to leave the service.

    This year, 13.8 per cent of those who took part in the survey said they intended to leave within two years – compared to 9.8 per cent in 2016. And, a further 20.6 per cent said they currently do not know what their intentions are with regards to staying in or leaving the police.

    Reasons for intending to leave include:

    •             Personal morale – 85.2 per cent

    •             How the police as a whole are treated – 73.4 per cent

    •             The impact of the job on health and wellbeing – 67.2 per cent.

    The survey results revealed that 72 per cent of West Midlands officers felt their workload had increased in the last year, with 63.5 per cent saying their workload was too high. Almost 74 per cent said they were worse off financially compared to five years ago with 88 per cent saying they did not feel they were paid fairly for the stresses and strains of the job.

    A total of 1,082 responses were received from West Midlands officers, representing a response rate of around 16 per cent, the national response rate for the survey, which is carried out annually and is used as evidence in the Federation’s submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB), was 25 per cent.

    “While the response rate is quite low, I think that the results do represent the views of the majority of our members,” says Steve Grange, “Sadly, I think officers are feeling so disheartened and demoralised that they are not even filling out these surveys because they do not feel that their views will be taken into account.”

     

    Steve Grange JBB Secretary                                                                        

    West Midlands Police Federation

     
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