Officers report low Force morale in national survey

Eight out of ten South Wales Police officers feel that morale within the Force is low or very low, according to a Police Federation survey.

The main reasons given for low morale were how the Government treats the police (cited by 94 per cent of respondents), how the public treats officers (87 per cent), and pay and benefits (80 per cent).

The survey also revealed that 50 per cent of respondents from South Wales Police felt their personal morale was low.

“The Federation’s annual pay and morale survey serves as a reflection of how police officers are feeling and once again this year’s results give an indication of how years of Government cuts, real-term reductions in pay, changes to our pension scheme, negative media headlines and the general challenges of being a police officer are impacting on our people,” says Steve Treharne.



“Obviously with a General Election on the horizon, it is difficult to imagine that we are going to see any immediate action from the Government but I hope that post-election, whichever party is in power, we start to see politicians prioritise long-term and sustained investment in policing so that officers can provide our communities with a first class policing service.

“The number one priority of any Government should be the safety and security of the public and that only comes with a properly resourced police service, in which police officers feel valued, respected and suitably paid for the unique role they undertake in society and the very real dangers they face each and every day.

“Currently, we have officers who do not feel they are treated fairly by the Government or the public, do not feel valued by the Force and who, despite their role and their commitment to serving their communities, find themselves struggling to make ends meet with almost one in five officers in South Wales saying they never or almost never have enough money to cover all their essentials; that cannot be right.


“To me it’s shocking that 93 per cent of our member who responded to this survey felt they were not paid fairly for the stresses and strains of the job while 87 per cent said their pay was not fair given the risks they faced while on duty.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Pay and Morale Survey obtains members’ views on their pay and conditions, as well as their attitudes to their work and the police service in general. It is one of the largest annual surveys of police officers conducted within England and Wales and has been conducted annually since 2014.

The 2023 survey was launched on 6 November 2023 and closed on 11 December 2023. A total of 943 responses were received from South Wales Police Federation members, representing a response rate of around 27 per cent - based on March 2023 Home Office figures of officer headcount.

Other headline findings in South Wales were:

  • 15 per cent of respondents intend to resign from the police service either ‘within the next two years’ or as soon as possible, with the most frequently cited reasons for being morale, the impact of the job on mental health and wellbeing, and how the police are treated by the Government
  • 78 per cent were ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their overall remuneration including basic pay and allowances, with 84 per cent saying they were worse off financially than five years ago
  • 61 per cent said their workload has been ‘too high’ or ‘much too high’ over the previous 12 months with almost a third (31 per cent) feeling ‘always’ or ‘often’ pressurised into working long hours
  • 44 per cent said they find their job ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressful
  • 83 per cent of respondents from South Wales Police indicated that they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing in the 12 months leading up to the survey
  • 69 per cent of respondents said they would not recommend joining the police to others.

Despite the negative headlines within the South Wales Police Federation responses, there was also some better news with 72 per cent saying their overall physical health was ‘good’ or ‘very good’. This compared with 69 per cent nationally.

“I really hope that politicians and police leaders take the time to read the findings of this report and consider how they might be able to help improve officer morale not just for the benefit of the hard-working and committed police officers who do their best to serve their communities but also for the benefit of the police forces, the police service as a whole and the public they serve,” says Steve.

Read the full report.