More than half of Sussex Police officers report having low morale, while almost 80 per cent said they were dissatisfied with their pay, according to a new survey.
The findings are based on the 1,142 responses from Sussex Police to the Police Federation of England and Wales’ Pay and Morale survey.
Almost 90 per cent of those who took part in the survey said morale within the force was ‘low or very low’ (88 per cent).
Simon Steele, secretary of the Sussex Police Federation, said this was ‘a very worrying statistic’. “The force and the Government need to take positive action to address this issue immediately,” he said.
Of those who took part in the survey, 54 per cent said that their own morale was low, which was less than the 63 per cent recorded last year.
Mr Steele said officers no longer felt valued and that this was affecting their morale and wellbeing.
When it came to pay, 79 per cent reported being dissatisfied.
A total of 74 per cent felt they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, while 15 per cent reported ‘never or almost never’ having enough money to cover all their essentials.
Mr Steele said: “All police officers accept that they will never be rich, none of us do it for the money, but they all deserve to be respected and paid fairly for the demanding and often dangerous job that they do.
“Officers’ pay has stagnated for the last nine years and they no longer feel valued, this is affecting morale.”
Meanwhile, 10 per cent of respondents said they intended to leave the police service either within the next two years or as soon as possible.
Mr Steele said the reduction in police numbers had had a ‘significant impact’, as resources were stretched and demand was increasing.
He said the number of leave embargos restricted officers’ ability to take time off and spend time with their families, while cancelled rest days could also have a significant impact on morale.
While Mr Steele said the recruitment of new police officers was ‘a step in the right direction’, he said more could be done immediately.
“Sussex Police officers have done a remarkable job over the last nine years under really challenging circumstances,” he said.
“Our staff are our most important asset and we need to listen to them and respond positively to what they are telling us.”
Adrian Rutherford, director of Peoples Services for Surrey and Sussex Police, said the force was doing all it could to alleviate some of the pressures faced by those on the front-line.
“Our police officers undertake a demanding and often dangerous role; ensuring that we keep Sussex safe and protect the most vulnerable from harm,” he said.
“We’re proud of the commitment and bravery that they demonstrate each and every day.
“As a force, we are doing all that we can to ensure that we’re alleviating some of the pressures faced by those on the front-line.
“We have seen our largest police officer recruitment drive in a decade; already welcoming 108 new officers into our organisation and onto the streets of our communities and a further 96 officer by the end of the financial year.
“We’ve also launched a wellbeing strategy which places officer and staff wellbeing at the heart of the organisation; ensuring we’re looking after our people mentally and physically, providing them with the support they may need.”
In terms of pay, he said the feelings highlighted were ‘not unique to Sussex’ and said: “We agree that those who are keeping our country safe should be paid at the right levels.
“We hope that the respondents from this survey, and their viewpoints, will be listened to as a priority by whomever the future Government may be.”
He said the force would look closely at the findings of the survey, as well as its own Employee Opinion survey.
“We wish to be an employer of choice and will continue to work with our colleagues in the Federation, as well as our own people, to ensure we’re doing all that we can to demonstrate the high value we place on our officers and staff and be the best employer that we can be,” he said.