Pay and Morale Survey results: Chair ‘saddened but not surprised’ 


PUBLISHED 20 Mar 2024

IN News

Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says she is ‘saddened but not surprised’ by new research which found more than one in five officers plan to quit amid low morale and dissatisfaction with the Government and pay.

The Police Federation of England and Wales’s (PFEW) annual pay and morale survey

revealed 22 per cent of police officers are planning to leave the service.

More than three-quarters of those (78 per cent) said that poor treatment from the Government was a contributing factor in wanting to leave. Morale (85 per cent), their mental health and wellbeing (73 per cent) and pay (70 per cent) were also key factors.

And with PFEW also reporting that 9,000 officers resigned in the year ending March 2023, the highest number of leavers in a financial year since comparable records began, Liz said the crisis would worsen unless officers were paid fairly.

Liz said: “I’m saddened that so many officers are thinking about leaving policing but I’m not surprised.

“Unless the Government look properly at police pay, and how it’s set, then the current retention crisis will only get worse.

“Our members are being asked to do more than ever, with fewer resources, and feel like they’re not supported by the Government. And the evidence would back that up.

“Members have had their pay and conditions eroded over the past decade, and many are thinking that enough is enough.

“As a Federation, we’re fighting for our members on pay and conditions and, in a General Election year, will highlight the need to reward police officers properly for the unique work they do.

The PFEW pay and morale survey, which has been released today (20 March), found 85 per cent of respondents feel they are not fairly paid given the hazards they face within their job, up from 78 per cent in 2018.

That is illustrated by 15 per cent reporting they had suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention because of work-related violence in the last year.

More than three quarters (78 per cent) of police officers disclosed they are ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their overall remuneration (including basic pay and allowances), while 18 per cent reported ‘never’ or ‘almost never’ having enough money to cover all their essentials.

More than half (58 per cent) of respondents feel their morale is ‘low’ or ‘very low’, while 87 per cent feel morale within their force is currently ‘low’ or ‘very low’. 

More than two-thirds (82 per cent) indicated they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other problems with their mental health and wellbeing over the last 12 months.

Other findings include:
•    95 per cent said how the police are treated by the Government had a negative impact on their morale.
•    81 per cent said their pay had a negative impact on their morale. 
•    73 per cent said they would not recommend joining the police to others. 
•    71 per cent said they did not feel valued within the police.
•    92 per cent of respondents feel they are not fairly paid given the stresses and strains of their job.
•    86 per cent said they do not feel there are enough officers to meet the demands of their team or unit.
•    64 per cent said their workload has been ‘too high’ or ‘much too high’ over the last 12 months. 
•    39 per cent said their workload being too high had an impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

PFEW national chair Steve Hartshorn said: “At a critical time where the police service is looking to rebuild eroded public confidence, a sustained recruitment and retention programme is needed to meet demand and deliver. The numbers we currently have are not enough and we are haemorrhaging officers.

“We do not need to scratch our heads wondering why they are quitting, because the evidence is right here, with unfair pay at the centre of it all.

“A fair pay mechanism is urgently needed, namely the ‘P-Factor’, a payment for remunerating officers for the harm they may encounter while carrying out their duties among other restrictions. It is there to address a series of unique issues experienced by police officers, and independent research agrees with this positioning.

“To help the Government understand these unique challenges to policing, PFEW is undertaking its own review of the P-Factor design and formula to support our campaigning on this matter.

“The survey findings ultimately demonstrate the need for committed action, and a vote for the members to make a decision around whether they want to seek greater industrial rights, specifically collective bargaining and binding arbitration in relation to pay and conditions, will be held as soon as is practicable this year.”

Read the full survey.