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It’s not just officers – low morale reported for police staff

Police staffPolice staff in England, Wales and Scotland are experiencing an all-time morale low thanks to stress brought on by stress, the largest public sector union has said.

Almost 70% of the 3,335 staff, from 999 call takers to detention officers and crime analysts, cited an increased workload as the main reason why they are stressed, Unison said.

The union is calling on the Government and police leaders to review the gap between the rising demand for police services and cutbacks to the police workforce.

More than three quarters of police staff have felt increasingly stressed during the past year and 60% blamed job insecurity for their worries, a survey by Unison found.

Almost two thirds said job cuts had hit morale, while 55% suffer from anxiety, 48% say they are demotivated and 47% suffer from insomnia.

Three-quarters of those surveyed saying they have seen job cuts and redundancies in their area of work since 2010.

Despite the concerns, nearly 60% of police staff said their force has not taken any steps to reduce stress in the workplace, while only a quarter feel comfortable talking to their manager about the issue.

The Government’s funding settlement for the 43 police forces in Wales and England in 2014/15 was announced at £8.5bn in May, compared with £8.7bn in 2013/14 and £9.7bn in 2010/11.

Ben Priestley, Unison national officer, said: “We understand working in the police service can be stressful, but stress levels are worryingly high. That’s bad for morale and for the public who rely on their help and support – often in very difficult circumstances. The seriousness of the issue seems to be largely ignored by managers.

“Government budget cuts were bound to have an impact on workers, particularly in terms of workload. Those in post are now expected to do more and cover for the roles that have been cut. Police leaders need to take urgent action and ensure managers and supervisors are properly trained to support their staff at a time when severe police funding cuts are damaging morale.”

Date posted: August 28, 2014

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