Officers do not feel respected by the Government, the Police Federation for Greater Manchester has warned
Morale among Greater Manchester police officers is at an all-time low amid financial worries and feelings they are not respected by the Government, the force’s Police Federation has warned.
The organisation which represents rank-and-file officers is demanding fairer pay and working conditions in the wake of the overwhelmingly negative response to a pay and morale survey.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers told the survey they are less well off than they were a few years ago, with some worrying about money every day and struggling to cover the cost of essentials.
And the vast majority of those questioned said morale in the force was currently low.
The Greater Manchester Police Federation has warned this will result in poorer work on the front line.
The Home Office said it has increased funding and boosted police numbers while also encouraging the public to recognise the value of police work.
What is the pay and morale survey and how did Greater Manchester Police officers respond?
The Police Federation of England and Wales has shared the results of its 2021 pay and morale survey, which the organisation said came against a backdrop of 12 years of pay caps and freezes.
A massive 95% of GMP officers said they did not feel respected by the Government, with 98% saying morale was low.
Almost half of those questioned said they worried about finances on a daily basis, with 74% saying they felt worse off than five years ago and 17% reporting they never or almost never had enough cash to cover essential purchases.
There are also concerns about workload, with 79% of GMP respondents feeling that this has been too high over the past 12 months.
And this is all translating into negative perceptions of the profession as a whole, with 73% saying they would not recommend joining the police as a career and just over one in 10 saying they planned to leave within the next two years or as soon as possible.
What has the Police Federation said about the survey?
Lee Broadbent, Greater Manchester Police Federation chair, said: “Police officers need a fair pay and conditions package for the risks they face.
“Officers join the job knowing it will be difficult, that we won’t - and can not - please everyone and that some of us will be seriously injured, or worse killed, in the service of our communities. This is the sad reality.
“We join on the understanding that we have no industrial rights, that we will be heavily scrutinised on our actions or perceived inactions and that our work/life balance will fall heavily in favour of work.
“In return we expect governments of whatever political persuasion to treat us fairly and even handily so that the last thing we have to worry about as we strap on a stab vest is how we’re going to financially look after our own families.
“Sadly, the evidence from this recent survey is very clear. My colleagues feel badly let down and abandoned by a government who were elected on a manifesto of supporting policing and police officers.”
The Federation said real-terms pay had fallen by 18% in a decade and officers who had a pay freeze last year are currently, like the rest of the public, facing rising energy bills and a National Insurance rise in April.
The organisation also said recent high-profile police scandals and stories showing officers and forces in a very bad light which have gained considerable attention have taken their toll too.
And it warned that the public would notice the effect of a demoralised police force in the quality of officers’ work.
Mr Broadbent said: “If year on year real term pay cuts were not enough to damage morale, we now also find ourselves subject to an almost-daily onslaught of negative police stories via broadcasted, printed and social media.
“Where we try to add balance to the debate, we are roundly jumped upon and accused of being dismissive and/or defensive.
“What’s missing from this debate is balance. The one-sided negative messaging is landing with the public and it is eroding our relationships. Police officers derive a great deal of satisfaction from doing a good job and feeling like the public supports us in what we are doing.
“The sacrifices we are making to keep them safe. The time we spend away from our loved ones. Feeling abandoned by politicians is one thing. Feeling abandoned by the wider public is quite another. But feeling abandoned by both, that leaves the morale of our colleagues at an all-time low - and the knock on effect of this is a poorer policing offering for all.”
What else has been said around this issue?
The Federation says it is encouraging MPs to support its campaign for a real-terms pay increase and a fair and independent mechanism to decide on police officer pay rises.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The police do an extraordinary job and we are determined to ensure the nation does more to honour the service and sacrifice of the police, that is why we recently introduced the Police Covenant which recognises their bravery and commitment.
“To help further support Greater Manchester Police in 2022-23, the Government has published a police funding settlement of up to £16.9 billion - an increase of up to £1.1 billion when compared to 2021/2022.
“We have also recruited over 11,000 additional officers as part of our commitment to recruit 20,000 officers across England and Wales.”