Police morale low

after virus The Police Federation’s latest Pay and Morale Survey has given more than 130,000 officers an opportunity to provide detailed feedback on how policing the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their finances and personal wellbeing. Two thirds (65 per cent) of

respondents felt the crisis had negatively impacted their morale and more than three quarters (76 per cent) felt that they were unfairly paid. Nine in ten officers cited the factor most likely to

have a detrimental effect on their morale was how police are treated. And 86 per cent do not feel fairly paid in relation to the stresses and strains of the job. National Chair of the Police Federation of England

and Wales John Apter said: “These results should give serious concern to chief constables and to government. The low morale reported by officers comes as no surprise, but the police service needs to take its head out of the sand and acknowledge we have a serious issue. My colleagues take the time to fill in these surveys and give their honest views, so it would be a failing by police leaders to ignore what is being said. “This year, more than ever, officers have been put

under significant pressure, dealing with the day job as well as policing the constantly changing Covid rules. Despite doing their very best, they have been turned into the villains of this pandemic by some, damned whatever they do; and this constant criticism takes its toll. Police officers are human beings; they have their own worries about the virus and the fear that they take it home to their families. “I accept that the wellbeing of police officers is

considered more now than it has ever been in the past, but the benefits of this good work are still not being felt by all of our members and that is a serious issue. This must be seen for what it is, a cry for help.” The 2020 Pay and Morale Survey was compiled by PFEW’s in-house Research and Policy Department, which plays a vital part in providing strategically important evidence to achieve better pay and conditions for members (see page 30). It generated over 25,000 responses which is

approximately 20 per cent of all federated rank officers in the whole of England and Wales.


• Two thirds say they do not feel fairly paid • 73 per cent said pay and benefits had a negative effect

• A third worry about their personal finances either almost every day

on their morale

• 72 per cent said morale was major factor on their intention to leave

• 34 per cent had not had access to adequate PPE. DECEMBER 2020 | POLICE | 05

John Apter National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales


Never before have we approached a Christmas period with so much uncertainty. We can’t know for sure whether we will be able to spend it with our families or what those who are policing over Christmas will face. This adds an awful lot of pressure and concern, and no matter what it’s important that we look out for each other. It’s often said that 2020 has been unprecedented, but we’ve gone beyond those words – it truly is a year that will go down in history and for all the wrong reasons. For policing, while it’s been tough and challenging, we can hold our heads up high. Not only did we step up, we reacted to an ever-changing situation and delivered a different style of policing in a professional, proportionate way which many of our critics choose to ignore. That’s what makes us the best police service in the world with the best people. All we can do is to hope that 2021 gives us some

respite and we can start to ease back into whatever our new normal is. It’s been a long, tough and challenging year which has affected people in different ways. As a society we need to be aware of the impact of this crisis and be ready to pick up the pieces, particularly around mental health. The true scale will start surfacing in the new year. And let’s not kid ourselves that we are immune from struggling with our mental health, we’re not. I know from my own experience that it’s so important to talk to friends and family or seek professional support if you need it. Please don’t suffer in silence. This month in the magazine we’re highlighting the support available to members over the Christmas period; we’re looking into roads policing officers’ exposure to trauma; and shining a spotlight on equality. In the Chair Answers, I’m reflecting on the challenges of 2020. I hope you enjoy the edition. And whatever you’re doing over

Christmas, whether you’re lucky enough to spend it with those you hold dear, or if you’re working please stay safe.

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