A Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) survey has highlighted the reality of the human impact on the health of police officers during the pandemic

1 February 2021

PFEW’s 2020 Demand, Capacity and Welfare survey also starkly revealed how officers are risking their own wellbeing in the line of duty.

The survey has illustrated the major health risks involved in policing the pandemic, with a significant number of North Wales Police officers reporting they believed they had contracted the virus (28 per cent). Almost half (42 per cent) of these respondents believed they contracted the virus through work-related activities and 29 percent reported that they had become unwell with COVID-19 after being assaulted in the line of duty by someone who has COVID-19.

Officers also said they had been frequently exposed to incidents which placed them at risk of physical and/or psychological harm, with 16 per cent stating they had suffered one or more injuries requiring medical attention due to work-related violence.

Mark Jones, General Secretary of the North Wales Police Federation said: “This survey clearly shows the huge pressure officers are under policing the pandemic and the negative impact on their welfare, with 30% of respondents from North Wales Police saying that they were very or extremely worried about the impact that the COVID-19 crisis will have on them personally and 29 percent reporting that they have become unwell with COVID-19 after being assaulted in the line of duty by someone who has COVID-19.

“As well as having an incredibly challenging and demanding job and all the pressures that go with it, police officers are also human beings who are looking after kids, poorly relatives, and have the same stresses as everyone else. This survey shows the harsh reality of policing during a period when police officers have simply done the best they could to help and protect the public.

“The results of this survey have come directly from our members – those police officers who are on the frontline dealing with whatever society throws at them. The increasing level of violence they face, especially involving the ‘weaponising’ of the virus, is a sad indictment of the society we live in.

“Governments in both Cardiff and Westminster must hear them; they must be given all the protection they need to protect themselves and this includes being prioritised for the COVID vaccine. We have had enough of the warm words – we now need action.”

The biennial survey forms part of PFEW’s submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body, the non-departmental public body which provides advice to the government on pay and conditions for police officers at or below the rank of chief superintendent. It was published by PFEW’s Research and Policy team to feed into the 2020/21 PRRB process.

You can read the full North Wales report here.