Pay and morale survey reveals impact of pandemic

2 December 2020

Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb has called on the Force’s chief officers to listen to officers’ “concerns and fears” after a new report highlighted the impact of the pandemic on members’ morale.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has today published the results of its annual pay and morale survey, which was carried out across all 43 forces in England and Wales and gave more than 130,000 Federation members their first opportunity to provide detailed feedback on how policing the pandemic had affected their finances and wellbeing.

The survey showed that 79 per cent of members in Dyfed Powys don’t feel fairly paid for the stress and strains of the job. And 70 per cent of respondents don’t feel fairly paid for the hazard faced in their job.

It also revealed:

  • 48 per cent of respondents said the Force has managed officers well during the pandemic, lower than the national average of 49 per cent
  • 43 per cent of Dyfed Powys Police respondents said they had received adequate training on the crisis, higher than the national figure of 41 per cent
  • 82 per cent said the Force had kept them up to date on Covid-19 related guidance. Nationally, the figure was 78 per cent.

In terms of morale, 40 per cent of respondents said it was low or very low, compared to 48 per cent in last year’s survey. This is also smaller than the national figure of 48 per cent and the sixth lowest among the forces in England and Wales. In addition, 63 per cent said Force morale was low or very low, compared with 81 per cent in last year’s survey. Nationally, 75 per cent of respondents said morale in their force was low or very low.

The main reasons for low morale cited were how the police as a whole were treated (86 per cent); workload and responsibilities (67 per cent); pension (65 per cent) and pay and benefits (64 per cent).

“I hope chief officers listen to the very real concerns and fears of our members that this report highlights,” Roger said, “Our members are out there every day policing the pandemic, serving and protecting the public.

“And while they’ve been focused on minimising the impact it’s having on the public, attention hasn’t necessarily been paid to the impact it’s having on officers.

“The fact that almost four out of every five officers do not feel fairly paid for the stress of the job, and 70 per cent feel unfairly paid for the hazards they face is very concerning.

“And this survey was carried out before the Government announced its public sector pay freeze, which is sure to have an impact on morale.”

The Federation pay and morale survey gathers members’ views on pay and conditions, as well as attitudes to work and the police service. Since 2014, it has been one of the largest annual surveys of police officers conducted within England and Wales.

This year’s survey covered a wide range of subjects and canvassed views on topics such as pay, the cost of living, morale and the proposed police officer uplift.

Other key findings in Dyfed Powys were:

Pay and remuneration

  • 58 per cent said they were dissatisfied with their overall remuneration, including pay and allowances
  • 30 per cent worried about the state of their finances daily or almost daily
  • Half felt they are worse off financially than they were five years ago, with five per cent reporting never or almost never having enough money to cover their monthly essentials.

Attitudes towards the police

  • 48 per cent of respondents said they didn’t feel valued in the police
  • 30 per cent felt they weren’t treated fairly, compared to 42 per cent who feel they are treated fairly
  • 54 per cent said they wouldn’t recommend joining the police to others.

Intention to leave

  • Seven per cent of respondents said they intended to leave policing within the next two years or as soon as possible.
  • The main reasons for intending to leave were the impact of the job on family and personal life, the impact of the job on health and wellbeing, and pension (all 73 per cent). How the police are treated and morale (67 per cent) were next.

The survey was compiled by the national Federation’s research and policy department, which plays a vital part in providing strategically important evidence to achieve better pay and conditions for members.

It generated more than 25,000 responses which is around 20 per cent of all Federated rank officers across England and Wales.

National Federation chair 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.

“While it might come as a surprise to some, 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, there is some good work going on in some forces, 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 from police officers who need to ensure their voice is heard. If these results are ignored by police leaders, then this will be a failing that will be unforgiveable.”

Read the full report.