Officers feeling less valued by the public

A major new report survey has found officers felt less valued by members of the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

A survey by Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service, showed officers felt more valued by their forces throughout the same period with job satisfaction levels remaining moderately high for police officers and high for police staff and fewer officers or staff indicating they wanted to leave the service.

But the feeling of being valued by the public fell to a moderately low level over the last year, even though public service motivation continues to be at a very high average level across all forces.

The second National Police Wellbeing Survey was launched in November 2020 by Oscar Kilo with the Policing Research Unit at Durham University and more than 22,000 officers and staff took part.

South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne said: “As a Federation, we place a lot of emphasis on the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of our members. It is essential that officer wellbeing is considered at all times. This survey reveals some interesting findings and I hope police chiefs and other stakeholders will take them on board.”

The survey found an increasing number of police officers were finding it easier to “switch off” and “recharge energy” after work and sleep quality had also improved in the last year with average reported frequencies for both disturbed sleep and insufficient sleep reducing and those reporting having less than six hours sleep going down from 45 per cent to 40 per cent.

There are, however, still high levels of fatigue with 29.2 per cent of police officers and 23.5 per cent of police staff indicating they suffered extreme tiredness.

Overall the average scores for all police officers experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress remained unchanged at around 64 per cent.

Oscar Kilo service director Andy Rhodes said: “More than 22,000 people responded to our second survey on wellbeing which, in itself, is a big positive in times when officers and staff are being asked to fill in more surveys than ever before – and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their time.

“The global pandemic has also meant that we have been policing in very different times, but despite the stresses, strains and uncertainty, officers and staff across the country have remained highly committed throughout.

“It’s really encouraging to see that people feel more valued by their forces as well as by peers and supervisors, and that we are seeing improvements in things like the ability to ‘switch off’ after work, and in sleep quality and awareness of self-care.

“Following the results of the last survey, where the issues of sleep and fatigue were loud and clear, we launched several pieces of work including our ‘Better Sleep’ webinars with a renowned sleep expert and the initiation of a pilot study into fatigue and shift work – but with the figures still showing us that some are still experiencing extremely high levels of fatigue, there is still more to do, and we will continue to put focus into this area.”

Deputy Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly, CEO of the College of Policing, said: “We ask our officers and staff to do an incredibly challenging job every day. It’s vital we look after them and importantly understand their needs and that’s why this survey is so important. We will take a hard look at the findings of the survey and then see what we can do to support colleagues further.”

Read the full report.