CONCERNS have been raised after a survey found police officers are suffering from low morale.
Nearly 200 officers responded to the Hampshire Police Federation annual study with 58 per cent saying their morale was low.
Around four in five of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their pay, including allowances.
Officers in Hampshire get a £1,000 south east allowance. But federation chairman Alex Charge said this has been frozen for so long it was now only worth £600.
Mr Charge, a police inspector, said: ‘A lot of officers constantly worry about money.
‘We’ve had people say that without overtime they would struggle to meet their monthly costs.
‘The trouble is, in an ideal world, we want officers when they’re on their days off to be off resting. But if they’ve got to come and work, that’s more stress, more and more.
‘It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that you’re so stressed you come to work more; you get more stressed. You have to do it in order to get money. It’s a real challenge for our officers.
‘Hampshire is an expensive place to live and where we as a force have reduced police stations, we’ve gone to hubs with investigations and most of our officers live on the M27 corridor in the south of the county, so they’ve got to drive further. That’s more financial cost. It is just really difficult for them.’
The results come from 192 responses, which makes up seven per cent of number of officers. The federation represents rank-and-file officers up to and including chief inspectors.
Mr Charge said he has put in a bid to the Hampshire police and crime commissioner to increase the south east allowance.
He said: ‘The real area that officers in Hampshire are struggling with is finances. It’s a significant issue.
‘A lot of that is about how much it costs to live in Hampshire, and we don’t have any pay mechanism that recognises that. We’ve got a £1,000 south east regional allowance which hasn’t been changed since 2001 when it was introduced.’
Police numbers have been slashed by around 1,000 since 2010.
A Hampshire police spokesman said wellbeing of staff and officers is 'incredibly important' and it is carefully tracked through surveys.
He said there is a mental health peer support system, and a psychological screening programme.
There is also a 24-hour assistance phone line.
He added: ‘A healthy workforce is required for an excellent delivery to our community, and we will continue to work hard to ensure we have a healthy and resilient workforce.’
Crime commissioner Michael Lane said he is ‘currently considering the constabulary’s proposal to increase the cost of living allowance as part of the budget for the coming year’.