Police morale hit by ‘unfair’ changes

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FRESH concerns about police morale have been raised after a survey found only half the staff at a Yorkshire force feel they are treated fairly.

Altogether 54 per cent of respondents to a Humberside Police staff survey felt the force treats people in a “fair and equitable manner”, nearly 10 per cent fewer than the previous year.

The research comes amid a stormy annual Police Federation conference during which Home Secretary Theresa May has been told she has lost the trust of officers while refusing to back down over proposed changes.

Just over 42 per cent of respondents felt they had opportunities to develop and learn new skills, eight per cent fewer than last year, while the level of confidence in the leadership provided by line managers fell nearly two per cent, to 77.6 per cent. The number of staff who felt they could influence local decisions fell more than four per cent, to just over 38 per cent.

Ian Watson, assistant chief officer for human resources, said: “It is of course regrettable to the force that this indicator (fairness) does show a lower percentage, however, I should point out that the police service is going through one of the biggest cost saving programmes in its history.

“Additional to this, there is major change afoot within the service, initiated through the Winsor review which directly impacts on the terms and conditions of employment for both officers and staff.

“Although all the officers and staff, locally, remain committed to providing the very best service to the people within the Humberside policing area, and this is clearly reflected in the ongoing successful performance and crime figures, there is, nevertheless, a large degree of uncertainty and anxiousness about how people may be affected by these national changes.

“On a day-to-day basis I remain impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by all our officers and staff, but one cannot help to notice that there is a strong feeling that some of the Winsor changes are unfair to them.”