Hants police morale is fifth worst in country

Around 74 per cent of Hampshire police officers surveyed said they had low morale
Around 74 per cent of Hampshire police officers surveyed said they had low morale
  • Strain on officers under change programme has dropped morale, federation says
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MORALE in the county’s police force is one of the worst in the country, The News can reveal.

Nearly 1,400 officers from Hampshire police responded to a national survey run by the Police Federation for England and Wales.

Of those, around 76 per cent said they had low morale while 98 per cent said they believed the force had low morale.

That places the force fifth and sixth respectively in the two categories out of 43 forces in England and Wales.

The national survey results were published in the summer but The News has now obtained Hampshire’s figures.

It comes as the force faces losing between 800 and 1,200 officers if it is cut by £40m to £65m in Home Office budget reductions.

The force has already had to save £80m by April 2017.

Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter, who represents rank-and-file officers, said Hampshire had already changed in response to budget cuts and that is a reason why morale is low.

He said: ‘We’re quite advanced with our force change programme.

‘We’ve gone through an awful lot more pain – that’s hit morale badly.

‘At the same time H3 has been introduced, it’s not fit for purpose at the moment.’

He added: ‘It’s created a crisis in morale.’

H3 is the system that sees Hampshire County Council, the fire service and police combine for back office functions.

It has been criticised for delays in payments and expenses to police.

The damning morale figures have emerged just days after Mr Apter held an open meeting with more than 350 federation members, chief constable Andy Marsh and Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes.

That meeting heard 74 per cent of members who answered a recent Hampshire federation survey had no confidence in the force’s new structure.

Mr Hayes said: ‘Morale is challenging and I do acknowledge that it’s low. The important things are understanding why it’s low and trying to do something about it.’

He said cuts had an impact but he was investing in gym equipment and IT to improve officers’ working conditions.

He added the survey was not representative of all who worked for the police.