We are working hard in Gloucestershire to give police officers the support they need to do a good job.
But that is not being matched by the Government, Sarah Johnson, Chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation writes.
Not a month goes by at the moment without a spate of news stories about how police officers morale’ is at rock bottom, how they are struggling to meet demand and how they are leaving the service in droves.
Policing is a tough, tough job. But our colleagues do it because they believe that working hard to protect people and keep the peace is a valuable thing to do.
But it is becoming harder for them to do so because of a lack of support from the Government.
More than nine in ten bobbies in our force are suffering from low morale – that’s 94% here in Gloucestershire. And 81% of officers in our force feel they are not fairly paid given the stresses and the strains of the job, the last Pay and Morale Survey, as carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales, revealed.
At the local level we are doing all we can to make sure these underpaid and undervalued police officers feel supported.
The work has already started on improving how these officers feel. We are focusing on wellbeing – giving support to colleagues locally and focusing on training. It has been some time since we’ve had any leadership training for lower ranking officers.
That work has just started again and is being delivered for newly promoted sergeants and inspectors, and for those who may have missed out.
But what we can’t get away from, however, is the fact that pay and conditions, the issues that central Government have control of, are undeniably damaging officers’ morale.
As a result we now have people resigning, not retiring.
There used to be a time where we could project our workforce based on a 30 year pension. However, we’re seeing people leave mid-term.
Well-trained detectives are going to find alternative employment in the private sector. Businesses are benefiting from supervisors who have found a different career path.
People feel let down by the Government, they feel cheated out of something that they thought they were joining.
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.
The service is suffering at a time when people need talented and well-trained police officers more than ever before.