Shropshire Star

Survey finds county police force has second lowest morale in the country

Officers in the county's police force have reported the second lowest levels of morale in the country – with only the Metropolitan Police reporting lower levels.

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The findings show the state of police morale.

The figures have been revealed in the annual Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Pay and Morale Survey.

They show that 95 per cent of West Mercia Officers responding to the survey said their personal morale was low, while almost two-thirds – 62 per cent – felt morale within the force was "low" or "very low".

The survey also found that 82 per cent of West Mercia Police respondents would not recommend joining the police to others.

The figure puts the force the second highest, with the number standing at 73 per cent nationally.

A total of 639 responses were received from West Mercia Police, representing 26 per cent of its officers.

The survey also found that 52 per cent of West Mercia officers disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were treated fairly – the third highest level in the country behind the MET and Suffolk Constabulary.

Other findings included 96 per cent of respondents saying they do not feel respected by the Government, 78 per cent saying they did not feel valued within the police, 70 per cent felt their workload was too high, and 56 per cent were unable to take breaks.

A total of 85 per cent indicated that they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months, and 47 per cent said they find the job too stressful.

The survey also saw only 11 per cent said they had access to double crewing.

Steve Butler, chair of West Mercia Police Federation, said the survey results made for sombre reading.

He said: “It is quite shocking to find that West Mercia has the second lowest level of morale in the country, particularly when you consider we are second only to the Met.

"While some of the reasons given for low morale are national issues, such as pay, pensions and the way in which the Government treats the police service, there are also some more local issues, including workloads, work-life balance and opportunities for career development that the force and our senior officers need to look at.

"The federation has been saying for some time now that the Government needs to ensure the police service is properly resourced, and that means longer-term funding settlements and sustained investment.

"It also needs to ensure that officers are paid a salary that reflects the challenges of their role, the dangers the face and their unique place in our communities.

"But on top of that we need to know that our pay review process is fair, the current system is far from fair or independent which is why we have withdrawn from that process.

“Of course, with a General Election on the horizon, we are unlikely to see any real response from the Government when the survey results are digested.

"However, whichever party forms the new Government later this year, politicians must make addressing officers’ concerns a key priority."

Responding to the findings West Mercia Police's Deputy Chief Constable Richard Cooper said: “As someone who cares about the people who work for West Mercia Police, some findings from the survey are difficult to read.

"Several areas have improved from last year – including morale, fewer people intending to leave, satisfaction with remuneration, and a lower proportion of officers who find the job stressful – but we all want it to be better.

“Society can’t do without policing, and it serves no one for police officers to feel unappreciated and undervalued.

"It is vital job, and a noble and rewarding one. We do not underestimate for a second the challenges our workforce face, both with national and local factors, and we are committed to working with the federation to improve the morale, welfare and job satisfaction of our officers.”