The release of the PFEW annual Pay and Morale Survey results this week have come with very few surprises to those in the police service. Officers are feeling undervalued and underpaid, officer numbers are declining, pay is poor and workload is increasing.
In Gloucestershire, the story mirrors the national picture. According to the survey 81% of Officers in the area do not feel they are paid fairly for the stresses and strains of the job, with 94% of respondents reporting force morale as low.
Sarah Johnson, Gloucestershire Federation Chair, discusses the findings.
“In Gloucester, we’ve been doing a lot of work around wellbeing within the force, and despite only small, differences are beginning to be noticed. Force morale has improved 2% over the last two years, which is definitely a step in the right direction.
“What we can’t get away from, however, is the fact that pay and conditions, the issues that central Government have control of, are affecting our Officers.
“Within the force we now have people resigning, not retiring. There used to be a time where we could project our workforce based on a 30 pension. However, we’re seeing people leave mid-term. Well trained detectives going to find alternative employment. Supervisors going to find a different career path.
“This is causing a big impact on turnover. We’re unable to predict what our workforce is going to look like and how much training and recruitment that we’re going to need.
“Policing is not an easy role. There have been changes to pay and conditions and the expectations now on Officers. People feel let down by the Government, they feel cheated out of something that they thought they were joining.
“In Gloucester we’re focusing on wellbeing – giving support to colleagues locally and focusing on training. It’s been some time since we’ve had any leadership training for lower grade and lower ranking officers. That work has just started again and is being delivered for newly promoted Sergeants and Inspectors, and then catch-up for those who may have missed out on that training.
“It may only be small, but unless we’re equipping the supervisors to actually manage, support and look after staff, then they’re not going to feel valued. I feel it’s really important and it’s going to help.”