Seven in ten Gloucestershire Police officers have experienced stress, low mood, anxiety or other issues with their wellbeing in the last year.
And 8 in ten say there are not enough officers in their team to do the job properly.
These were the findings of Gloucestershire’s Officer Demand, Capacity and Welfare Study 2018, published today by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
The report also found that more than 8 in ten officers spend most of their time alone – 86% of respondents reported often or always being single crewed.
This is worrying, said Ian White, Secretary of Gloucestershire Police Federation.
“We are concerned about single crewing. Officers are being exposed to increased risk – which affects both them and the public. And this has an overall effect on mental health and wellbeing – it is a dangerous job anyway and single crewing is not safe.
“We think it may be appropriate at certain times, but on late shifts and at night we would like to see officers working in pairs. We will be talking to the force about this.”
Morale was low at the force, the report found. 44% of respondents from Gloucestershire Police reported never or rarely being able to take their full rest break entitlement and the average rating for overall job satisfaction at the force was just five out of ten.
Seven in ten officers said their workload was too high (69%) and four in ten said they often or always faced unrealistic time pressures (40%).
“There are not enough officers, and this all links into the cuts we have seen since austerity was introduced in 2010. We have lost hundreds of officers in Gloucestershire and thousands nationally. It is time for the Government to properly invest in policing.”
An increase to council tax will boost numbers slightly in some key areas, but Ian says this is “too little, too late”.
“The excessive workload that officers are facing has a knock-on effect on emotional wellbeing. We are seeing stress-related sickness and people getting disillusioned with the job. It is a snowball effect. It has an impact on their lives in general, and on their health and wellbeing. It is not good for them and it is not good for the public – we just cannot give as much time as we would like to investigating crime and seeing justice done.
“Our message to the Government and to the Home Secretary would be that we need more money, more resources and more officers so that public safety can be maintained and the pressure on officers can be eased.”