An increasing number of police officers find it easier to “switch off” and “recharge energy” after work, according to a survey by Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service.
The newly-published survey revealed more officers and police staff had reported an improvement in their ability to relax and recover from the challenges of work compared with the previous study of its kind.
It also revealed police officer sleep quality had also improved in the last year with average reported frequencies for both disturbed sleep and insufficient sleep reducing and those reporting having less than six hours sleep going down from 45 per cent to 40 per cent.
There are, however, still high levels of fatigue with 29.2 per cent of police officers and 23.5 per cent of police staff indicating they suffered extreme tiredness.
Overall the average scores for all police officers experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress remained unchanged at around 64 per cent.
Officers and staff both reported feeling more valued by their force than they did in 2019 and job satisfaction has remained moderately high for police officers and high for police staff with the intention to quit declining.
But the feeling of being valued by the public has fallen to a moderately low level even though public service motivation continues to be at a very high average level.
The second annual national policing wellbeing survey was launched in November 2020 by Oscar Kilo with the Policing Research Unit at Durham University and more than 22,000 officers and staff took part.
Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom said: “Policing throughout the pandemic has been extremely challenging and the demands placed on our members have been extraordinary so it’s really encouraging to hear that officers feel more valued by their forces.
“It is also good to hear that despite those additional pressures, there is evidence that officers and staff are finding it easier to relax and recharge their batteries between shifts.”
Andy Rhodes, service director for Oscar Kilo, said: “More than 22,000 people responded to our second survey on wellbeing which, in itself, is a big positive in times when officers and staff are being asked to fill in more surveys than ever before – and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their time.
“The global pandemic has also meant that we have been policing in very different times, but despite the stresses, strains and uncertainty, officers and staff across the country have remained highly committed throughout.
“It’s really encouraging to see that people feel more valued by their forces as well as by peers and supervisors, and that we are seeing improvements in things like the ability to ‘switch off’ after work, and in sleep quality and awareness of self-care.
“Following the results of the last survey, where the issues of sleep and fatigue were loud and clear, we launched several pieces of work including our ‘Better Sleep’ webinars with a renowned sleep expert and the initiation of a pilot study into fatigue and shift work – but with the figures still showing us that some are still experiencing extremely high levels of fatigue, there is still more to do, and we will continue to put focus into this area.”
Deputy Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly, CEO of the College of Policing, said: “We ask our officers and staff to do an incredibly challenging job every day. It’s vital we look after them and importantly understand their needs and that’s why this survey is so important.
“We will take a hard look at the findings of the survey and then see what we can do to support colleagues further.”