Two-thirds of police officers do not feel valued, survey reveals

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13th February 2019 16:54 - Public Consultation

Two-thirds of police officers do not feel valued: A national survey of police officers has revealed insight into what it is like to serve in the police force today - particularly in terms of attitudes towards pay and morale. 

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) survey questioned 18,000 officers across all ranks and found more than two-thirds (67.8%) did not feel valued in the police and would not recommend joining the police force to others.

Over six in 10 respondents, however, said they still felt proud to serve in the police.

Low morale

Nine out of ten respondents said morale in their force and in the police service in general, was low. Almost 6 in 10 (58.7%) said their personal morale was also low.

Top reasons given for low morale included how the police are treated as a whole (85.6%), how change is managed in the police (78.3%), pay and benefits (76.5%) and work-life balance (65%). Relationships with colleagues have had a positive effect on morale for over half of those polled (53.5%) as has treatment by a line manager (53.6%).

Compared to last year's survey, the number of officers who feel the police are not respected in wider society increased from 65.7% (2017) to 69.3% (2018) - and 11.9% revealed they would likely leave the force as soon as possible or within the next couple of years. Over half (53.2%) said they plan to stay in the police until they reach pension age.

Questions around salaries also raised some interesting insight revealing 44.8% worry daily or almost daily about their personal finances and 11.8% said they struggle to cover the costs of essentials. Three quarters (75,7%) said they felt worse off today than they did five years ago.

When it comes to career progression, 80% said they had not applied for a promotion. This was for a  variety of reasons including the feeling that it wouldn’t be worth for the additional pressures of the job (38.1%), officers  like their current post (33.6%), the additional responsibility would not be worth it for the salary (33.6%) and almost a third of those polled (31.8%) said the actual process of applying for a promotion takes too much time.

Che Donald, the PFEW's national vice-chairman said:

“Officers are stressed, exhausted and consistently exposed to things people should never have to see - and these results show just how much it is taking its toll."

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