HUMBERSIDE Police are to consider appointing constable “champions” as part of a series of measures to improve morale after a staff survey revealed officers felt “undervalued”, “overworked” and are being given “unrealistic targets”.
The second “Have Your Say” survey showed morale had fallen among all ranks below superintendent since the poll was last conducted in 2009.
Employees’ personal ratings for wellbeing were also lower at all uniformed ranks except inspector, and fell across the entire workforce except among civilian managers, where they rose slightly.
Comments from respondents included: “We are not valued, nobody really cares about our welfare or how huge our workloads are”, and “...they are only managing by email, get them to talk to their staff.”
Another said: “Does anything ever happen as a result of these surveys? From my point of view it appears not.”
Another aspect that has already being acknowledged as an area of concern to the force was the fact that less than five per cent of volunteers and 10 per cent of special constables responded to the survey.
An improvement plan in response to the findings will be discussed by the resources committee of force watchdog Humberside Police Authority next Tuesday.
The report said: “A strong theme within the survey was a feeling amongst staff that there would not be any tangible improvements made as a result of the survey. This was particularly apparent at the rank of constable. The results suggest that constables more than any other group feel that their views and opinions are not valued.”
It continued: “There is a real opportunity via the action plan to improve the overall morale of staff by improving the flow of information locally, raising the profile of senior management teams and using constable champions to consult with colleagues and inform the changes.”
However, authority chairman Ros Taylor said the results should be viewed in context of the spending squeeze being imposed on the force and changes to officers pay and conditions.
A separate report to the committee reveals 115 police officer posts are set to be cut in this financial year, while there will be a net reduction of 59 police staff posts.
A total of £16.23m of savings have been made so far against a target of £16.37m.
Mrs Taylor said: “It is very important that we listen to the views of staff and I am pleased the force has carried out this survey.
“It is disappointing that in some areas, such as morale, staff seem to be less confident than they were in 2009; that is perhaps understandable when taking into account all the uncertainty created by financial reductions and national changes in pay and conditions.
“However, whatever staff may say in the survey, they are continuing to come to work and giving 100 per cent commitment. That is very evident in the excellent results we heard about when the authority’s policing committee met this week and I commend staff for their efforts.
“The really important issue for members now is that the force does something in response to what staff are saying and we will be asking the chief constable for regular updates during the rest of the year about the actions they are proposing to take.”
The overall force rating for moral was 2.51 on a scale of one to four, down from 2.87 in 2009.
The overall rating for wellbeing was 2.78, down from 2.87, and was 2.46 for personal development, down from 2.56.
The force also plans to do more to encourage more employees to take part in the survey. The report said: “An alternative approach to the extended police family will be agreed prior to the launch of the next survey along with additional marketing with a view to improving the response rates across the entire organisation.”