Over 80% of North Wales Police officers have highlighted low force morale due to the way the police service is treated as a whole combined with an ongoing attack on their pay and conditions in a recent Pay and Morale survey.
The annual Pay and Morale survey conducted by the Police Federation of England and Wales revealed that officers in North Wales were regarded as the most loyal and had the least intention of leaving the service out of 43 police forces.
Despite officer’s loyalties, low force morale has maintained a figure in the region of 80% for the last four years. Worryingly, responses for the negative effects of day-to-day job role and workload / responsibilities have increased over the last three years (Day-today job role 33.3% in 2016, 40.3% in 2018. Workload and Responsibilities 43.1% in 2016 to 51.3% in 2018). These figures underpin the messages from officers and the Police Federation that the service is at breaking point and that ‘Cuts have Consequences’.
With improving figures in relation to treatment locally the concerning responses around the treatment of police and overall morale may well be as a result of ongoing negativity, criticism, lack of support and, in some instances attacks, from the Government, IOPC (Independent Office of Police Conduct), HMICFRS (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service) and some elements of media.
Additionally, the vast majority of North Wales Police respondents, 70.6%, did not feel fairly paid considering the stresses and strains of their job.
The findings provide vital evidence to inform the Police Federation of England and Wales work on pay and conditions. The survey findings will be used in our submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB – an independent group which advises the government on police pay) to help inform the pay award in 2019.
Locally, the findings will be used in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Chief Officers and other interested parties to inform and reinvigorate some of the work around Health and Wellbeing as well as a number of the operational reviews that are currently ongoing.
Mark Jones of the North Wales Police Federation said;
“Over the last two years we have been working closely with senior managers in relation to Health and Wellbeing in addition to some challenges around promotion and selection. It is pleasing to see the improving perceptions in the figures in relation to opportunities for development and promotion as well as treatment by senior managers.
“Our members are under immense pressure to deliver, with dwindling resources and rising crime, particularly violent crime, leading to a demand for our services that has never been higher.
“As a result, North Wales Police Federation has instigated additional support mechanisms for officers through the services of RedArc (http://www.redarc.co.uk) in addition to delivering accredited training to local Federation representatives to equip them with the skills to be mental health peer supporters.
“There is no doubt that we are seeing an increase in the number of officers seeking our support in relation to their own or their colleagues mental health.”
Arfon Jones, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner in response to the survey findings said;
“I recognise the concerns that officers have, being expected to deal with the work that other agencies should be dealing not to mention the burden that the IOPC and HMICFRS place on the day to day responsibilities and this is further exacerbated by the lack of support from central government in respect of recognition and remuneration. I personally put a great deal of effort into reducing demands on front line officers and to improve processes to remove unnecessary bureaucracy that causes so much frustration for us all. I will continue to work with the Chief Officer team to improve working conditions and quality work life balance.”
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Richard Debicki, set out his support and willingness to engage with the Police Federation;
“The national Federation Survey is valuable in helping us to assess the feeling of staff in important areas. Policing is an incredibly difficult job, with exceptional demands and expectations placed upon our staff, in order for them to protect the public in the way that they do. I am extremely proud of the way that our police officers in north Wales go about that most important role of keeping the public safe. I know that police officers are committed to providing the best possible service and care that they can to our communities. It is right, of course, that we offer the strongest support that we can to our officers – working with them to ensure their health and wellbeing, so that they can defend the public effectively. We have a programme of work which seeks to do just that. It is heartening to learn from the survey that our officers are the least likely of any force to report that they want to leave the Force, demonstrating their commitment to the communities they serve and to the Force. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the Federation to ensure that we are the best employer that we can be. Ultimately our aim is to provide an outstanding service to the public, and the wellbeing of our staff is essential in doing that”.