91% of Kent Police officers say they do not currently feel respected by the Government with 41% worrying about their finances every day.
The new figures from the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) 2021 Pay and Morale Survey come after 12 years of pay caps and pay freezes for the police.
64% of respondents from Kent Police felt that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago and 13% of respondents reported never or almost never having enough money to cover all their essentials.
The negative impact of the Government’s treatment towards police officers and police pay is clear from the survey – 78% of respondents from Kent Police felt that morale within the force is currently low.
And 68% of respondents from Kent Police said that over the last 12 months, their workload has been too high or much too high.
Last year police officers across England and Wales were given a generous 0% pay rise. Household bills are rising sharply and National Insurance is going up in April. Over the past 10 years police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 18%. Staff are also overworked as the numbers of police continue to fall.
So it comes as no surprise that 75% of the 948 respondents from Kent Police said that they are dissatisfied with their overall remuneration.
Meanwhile in a damning statement to those running the police, 65% of officers who responded said they would not recommend joining the police to others and 10% of respondents from Kent Police said they had an intention to leave the police service either within the next 2 years or as soon as possible.
The Federation is urging MPs to support its campaign for a real-terms pay increase and a fair and independent mechanism to decide on police officer pay rises.
Neil Mennie, Kent Police Federation Chair, said “The results of this survey are not surprising and represent a number of issues colleagues are managing on a daily basis. Policing should be supported by the Government and hiding behind the uplift usually described as ‘extra officers’, although welcome, is not going to solve the current problems and common themes being raised”.
“Many messages have been given by assorted Home Secretaries and other politicians over the years about supporting the police and far more criticising policing. The net result is that hardly anyone believes that they are respected or treated well by the Government, which has not been helped in recent times by offering zero pay rise.
“Until a fair and truly independent mechanism is in place where the rules of the offer are not controlled by the Government, this will continue to damage the morale of officers.
“The demographic and the recruitment of officers is changing and if we lose the balance of longevity and experience within policing this is only going to get worse.
“This is a high pressure role with long hours and demand outstripping the workload of colleagues who shouldn’t have to worry about their finances on a daily basis. This should be a fantastic career and it has some truly dedicated and talented officers who continue to work hard despite the way they feel. The public don’t get to ‘see behind the curtain’ and this survey provides just a glimpse of that.”
This is a high pressure role with long hours and demand outstripping the workload of colleagues
Neil added: “Chatting with colleagues they have on a daily basis become very reticent and almost ‘file’ these worries away until the end of the shift and ultimately very much devaluing the term ‘rest day’
“All of this isn’t helped by the battering and awful headlines that have been in the media in recent times. It has become easy to forget and overlook the voices and deeds of the overwhelming majority who are equally as offended and angry about the actions of a few and continue to soldier on.
“What does it say when 65% of officers wouldn’t recommend this as a career and others are seeking to leave or retire earlier than they may have done?”
“Those of us who continue to be proud to serve despite all this need to be listened to. However the silence is deafening and the future of this fine profession is very much looking more uncertain.”