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Austerity-Fatigued Front Line

It should be no surprise that eight in 10 West Yorkshire Police officers have experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months.

That is the view of West Yorkshire Poloce Federation Chairman Brian Booth, who was responding to the results of a newly published survey.

The 2018 PFEW Officer Demand Capacity and Welfare Survey 2018 has just been published, and for the first time includes figures that are bespoke to West Yorkshire Police.

West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Brian Booth, said: “There is no surprise with the outcomes of this survey.

“We have 600 officers less than we did 10 years ago, officers have greater demand and less colleagues to share the burden with.
“It should be no shock that 80% experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months.
“Although the Government will say they have invested in policing this year, this is smoke and mirrors. The years of cuts have taken their toll and what has been invested recently is a small part of what has been taken away.”

Brian continued: “West Yorkshire Police’s most valuable resource is its people and these results should be a huge red flag to the Government. It is pleasing to see that our force results have seen a slight increase in a positive manner since the last Survey in 2016, but there is a long way to go as we sit above the National Average in most areas.

“The Force is trying to help, but unless there is a drastic overhaul in the Police Funding Formula, I fear these figures will stagnate.
“Officers are stressed, exhausted, fatigued and consistently exposed to things people should never have to see – and these results show just how much it is taking its toll.
“West Yorkshire Police Federation will continue to work closely with the Force and stakeholders to improve conditions and support officers when they are struggling.
“It makes me angry that the Government was warned about this in 2015 and the then Home Secretary Theresa May accused the Police Federation of “Crying Wolf”.
“It baffles me when politicians refuse to take steps to improve conditions for those who work so hard to keep us all safe. What message does that send to our members? What does it say to society – the same society the Government is meant to protect?”
“Like me, my colleagues joined to serve the public and they get as frustrated as the public do when they cannot attend every call for assistance.
“I ask the public of West Yorkshire, please support your officers and be understanding when they don’t quite get to you fast enough, I’m certain officers would do if they could.”

The PFEW says there is an illusion around public and officer safety following the survey. Nationally, figures showed that 83% of front line officers, said there weren’t enough of them to do the job properly.

More than 18,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector gave their views on the demand on the service and how this has affected them. The survey was undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales. This is the second time this survey has been conducted, following the first in 2016.

 

West Yorkshire Survey Results

 

  • 41% of officers often or always had unrealistic time pressures.
  • 75% said their workload was too high or much too high.
  • 81% were often or always single crewed.
  • 53% were never or rarely able to take their full rest break entitlement.
  • 44% of respondents rviewed their job as very or extremely stressful.

Date posted: March 11, 2019

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