Police officers are 'overworked and underpaid', Cumbria Police Federation survey shows

230720 - Cumbria Police car stockshot - For use after 22/07/20 (following death of PC Nick Dumphreys)
Almost every officer highlighted the cost of living as a big factor in the squeeze on finances Credit: Cumbria Police

Police officers in Cumbria say they are "overworked and underpaid", with more than eight in ten saying they are worse off financially now than five years ago.

Eight in ten officers are dissatisfied with their overall remuneration and that 14% of officers "never or almost never" have enough money to cover essentials, research by the Cumbria Police Federation shows.

The latest pay and morale survey shows that 85% of officers in Cumbria were "worse off" financially than they were five years ago, as 98% of officers cited the cost of living crisis for this.

Paul Williams, chair of Cumbria Police Federation, said: “The stats speak for themselves - and the scary thing is we are not at all surprised.

"Policing should never have been allowed to get into such a state and we constantly find ourselves worse off with no end in sight.

“Over a decade ago we were accused by the government of crying wolf when austerity began and it turns my stomach to hear the government frankly hoodwink the public into thinking that a recruitment drive of an ‘extra’ 20,000 police officers will solve all of our problems and is investment in policing.

“It’s a fact that police officer pay has fallen 25% when compared to inflation over the past 12 years.

"A real term cut that is unsustainable when the cost of living is so high.

“These statistics demonstrate a serious lack of reward and recognition for how our members have faced the most difficult times."

National Police Chiefs’ Council chair Martin Hewitt said: “The Police Federation’s survey gives us valuable insight into officers’ views.

"As always, chiefs will look carefully at these findings.

"Police officers work in an extremely challenging environment and are frequently exposed to traumatic events.

"In recent years, they have had the added pressures of policing the pandemic, as well as responding to an overall rise in crime levels when society reopened.

"Officers today are also increasingly responding to non-policing issues, such as assisting those in mental health crisis, or requiring other health and social care support.

“It is clear that this demand is having a worrying and increasing impact on the wellbeing and morale of our officers and staff.

"Leadership at every level of the service must acknowledge this and ensure that our officers and staff are recognised and valued for the work they do.

“In real-terms, officers’ pay lags behind where it stood in 2010, and it is out of step with current rises in the cost of living.

"We are urging ministers to fund meaningful and fair pay increases that properly reflect the important and complex work police officers do."

Chief Constable for Cumbria Constabulary Michelle Skeer said: "Police officers work every day in extremely challenging environments, regularly responding to traumatic incidents and assisting those in mental health crisis.

"It is clear from the survey that high demand is taking an increasing toll on welfare and well-being.

"Here in Cumbria, we are already working to address these concerns with the implementation of a new structure for the Constabulary and new response shift patterns.

"In addition to this, we are increasing officer numbers whilst prioritising these officers to front line roles such as response and the Command and Control Room, as well as providing support through occupational health services."

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