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Sussex Police morale at all time low
Half of police officers and support staff in Sussex believe the force doesn’t care about them, an internal |survey has revealed.
The satisfaction study reveals morale has been hit by red tape, equipment problems and a lack of promotion opportunities – with a third saying they don’t think they’d get a good service if they reported a crime.
Anna Roberts reports.
THOUSANDS of Sussex Police officers and staff from across the county picked up their pens in the summer and confidentially shared their views on how they were feeling.
By-and-large the results were negative.
Officers and staff in their droves complained about senior management, red-tape and even safety.
A total of 59 per cent of all staff responded – this amounting to 3,247 people.
Alarmingly, half of all people surveyed disagreed with the comments: “Sussex Police cares about its staff”.
Forty-eight percent disagreed with the comment: “I feel valued for the work I do”.
This was 11% more than in 2010, the last available survey.
Fifty-six per cent disagreed with the comment: “I have clear development opportunities within Sussex Police”.
In 2010, just a third disagreed with this comment.
The Argus was initially alerted to the results of the survey in the autumn but when we asked Sussex Police for a copy they refused.
We obtained the survey after submitting a Freedom of Information request.
Other results revealed that 30% said they disagreed that health and safety was “given a high priority” within the force and 40% said they disagreed they had an appropriate work/life balance.
Senior management were also criticised by 40% of respondents for not being visible enough and nearly a third said they “did not have confidence” in their leaders.
However, a Sussex officer, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Argus: “People are upset not because of what Sussex is doing but because of what the Government is doing.
“We are having massive reductions in pay and we are being asked to do more for less.
“I think the police probably care but if someone comes and says, ‘I’m really hard up because my wages are down’ what can you do?’
'Paid quite well'
“There is national pay bargaining and you can’t change that locally.
“You are stuck in Sussex Police. You can’t go to the Met because the Met aren’t hiring and the pay won’t be that different.
“But truthfully we do have quite a good job and we get paid quite well.”
Mark White, secretary of Sussex Police Federation – representing officers, said: “The answers given by Sussex police officers are indicative of how officers are feeling across the country. We are being subjected to a sustained attack by this Government and morale is at an all-time low.
“The Government seem to want more and more from police officers but seem to value us less and less.
“The fact that more than 45,000 police officers this week voted for the right to strike should tell you what the mood is and it is no surprise that this was reflected in the survey.”
Marion Fanthorpe, director of human resources at Sussex Police, said: “Staff and officers have experienced massive change as a result of both national policy and the far- reaching local changes we are making to modernise Sussex Police by 2015.
"It’s important that we keep in touch with the views of frontline officers and staff as we do this.
“We will use the results of the survey to help us manage the impact of these changes on staff and on the service we provide to the public.
"Serving Sussex 2015 is the programme of work that will significantly change how we deliver policing in the future.
“The first phase focused on how we could deliver cost savings of £52 million by 2015. The second phase will focus on modernising our force to keep pace with technology, changing crime patterns and the expectations of the public.
“We are aiming to improve the service we provide to the public, give our officers and staff the systems and equipment they need to do an effective job, and provide good value for tax payers’ money.
“Sussex Police is a responsible employer and hugely values its staff who do a difficult job in often difficult circumstances.
“However we understand that many staff feel that their terms and conditions are being affected by the changes and financial constraints.
“There are a number of schemes in place to provide advice and support to help manage the impact of changes on individuals.
“Many staff believe that chief officers have a clear vision for Sussex Police in 2015.
“They are modernising the force, improving the service it provides to the public and will give its officers and staff the modern systems and equipment they need to do an effective job.
“But at a time when the force has to find significant savings, tough choices have had to be made.
“It is understandable that staff and officers who have experienced major changes over the last two years will be affected.”
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