Morale among Hampshire police officers hits low in wake of cash cuts

DOWNBEAT Police morale is the lowest it has been for years, says the county's Police Federation
DOWNBEAT Police morale is the lowest it has been for years, says the county's Police Federation
Jacob Monerville. Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

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MORALE among police is at rock bottom in the wake of government spending cuts, according to Hampshire Police Federation.

Chairman John Apter said he has never known officers to feel so dejected or let down.

Mr Apter spoke out as a Hampshire Constabulary staff survey revealed just 28 per cent of officers and staff rate their morale as high – down from 44 per cent recorded in 2010.

Of the 3,717 police officers and staff who took part in the annual survey less than half – 45 per cent – are satisfied in their job.

The results fall well below the 61 per cent Hampshire Police Authority target.

But 39 per cent of police community support officers who took part in May’s survey rated their work morale rate as high. This also applies to 72 per cent of specials and 82 per cent of volunteers.

Mr Apter said: ‘I’m surprised morale is as high as it is. I have been a police officer for 20 years and I have been a federation man for 12 years. I genuinely have never known police officers to feel so dejected, so let down and so concerned about the future.’

Mr Apter said some officers are considering leaving the force altogether as it battles to cut £50m by 2015. Police are also fighting changes to their pay and conditions.

Mr Apter added: ‘I have got officers asking how their pension will be affected if they leave early, as they don’t see a future in the service. This isn’t because of Chief Constable Alex Marshall.

‘Police officers feel they are the whipping boys of the public sector.

‘At the moment police officers are telling me this is a relentless attack on everything they stand for. Police officers are used to getting a kicking from the drunken yobs they deal with on the streets every night.

‘They are not used to getting a kicking from their own government.’

Hampshire Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: ‘This has been a difficult time for our staff. Not only are we progressing through a significant change programme, but the economic climate, along with the Hutton and Winsor reviews, have all contributed to a challenging period.

‘In my day-to-day dealings with staff, I am impressed by the levels of personal commitment and dedication in delivering an excellent service, despite these difficult times.

‘We will study the detail of the staff survey and take a close look at the responses.’

Complaints Fall

COMPLAINTS against Hampshire Constabulary fell 43 per cent last year - bucking the national trend.

There were 648 complaint cases recorded against the force in the 12 months from April 2010.

Allegations - which include neglect of duty, rudeness and assault - fell 25 per cent to 1,699 force-wide in the period.

There were 849 letters of appreciation.

Nationally complaints against forces in England and Wales rose by eight per cent, according to a report by the Independent Press Complaints Commission.