Gloucestershire Police Constabulary has been ranked in the top ten forces in the country for low morale. In the latest report published by the Police Federation, Gloucestershire Constabulary was placed at 8th position for low morale with 94% of officers describing service morale as low.
This statistic is just one of a many insights into how police officers in Gloucestershire feel about the job and the Police Federation report has revealed the reality of an understaffed and under funded police service.
Gloucestershire’s police men and women expressed the main reason for low morale was how the police as a whole are treated which received 84.2% agreement in the survey. The survey suggests police service people feel unappreciated by the wider public, which has resulted in lowered morale within the force causing some officers to reconsider their career choices. Heavy work loads and responsibilities were the second highest voted reason for low morale which may well be an effect of sector cuts in the county and further stringent funding.
“We know that the majority of the British public understand the difficulties and challenges our members face on a daily basis and are grateful for the work we do. Unfortunately, the negative voices tend to be the ones we hear the most, which can leave officers feeling undervalued and despondent, as this survey shows.” – Steve White, PFEW Chair
It was discovered that just over one in ten Gloucestershire officers are intending to change careers in the near future and just over 18% being uncertain as to whether they will remain in the constabulary or not. A combination of those figures would amount to a total of almost 30% of the police force considering a change in career.
In 2015 it was revealed that Gloucestershire police had proposed a 2% tax rate rise in order to help fund the service, as £20 million had been cut since 2011. Without the proposed tax increase Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl expects further cuts of £25 million over the next four years, which could have adverse affects on the way the police service in Gloucestershire operates.
Salary was also a concern nationally as almost nine out of ten police service people felt that their pay was unfairly low compared to the stress, strain and dangers of the job. Despite the concerns many of the respondants face, 61% did state that they were proud to be in the force.
“What is deeply worrying is that whilst the majority of respondents are proud to be in the police, more than two thirds wouldn’t recommend joining. Yes, the job is tough and demanding but it’s also never-ending. With budgets cuts have come fewer officers, diminished resources and increasing crime; our members are feeling the strain – and want to be adequately remunerated.”- Steve White, PFEW Chair
In an attempt to tackle low morale and spotlight good police/public relations, the Police Federation has launched the Believe in Blue campaign. The campaign works to raise awareness of the good service police officers provide to the public, through concentrated social media promotion as well as cinema advertisements.
Since it’s launch in April, the Believe in Blue campaign has reached over 1.4 million people online and 1.19 million people across 515 cinemas nationally.