Gloucestershire police morale at 'rock bottom'
MORALE among police officers is a problem, the head of Gloucestershire's force has admitted.
Chief constable Mick Matthews has conceded that staff were fed-up following a survey of his employees.
But he insisted that they were still working to capacity in their efforts to protect the public.
The questionnaire revealed only 41 per cent of officers and staff still believed the force was good to work for in 2011 – a drop from 65 per cent the previous year.
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Many expressed dissatisfaction after massive cuts saw the force slash its budget by £24 million.
They claimed they felt overstretched and under- resourced.
Concerns over bullying also doubled in the space of 12 months.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Matthews admitted the country faced a problem with satisfaction in its forces.
He said: "Hearing a lot about police morale. Yes there are problems, but across UK officers and staff are still committed to keeping public safe."
Gloucestershire Police Federation chairman Tracy De Young said the findings were not a surprise.
But she backed Mr Matthews' view that managers were working hard to improve conditions.
She added: "Morale across the board is at rock bottom.
"We are being asked to do more and more things with limited resources and, in the end, they will only get less.
"Police officers and staff, by their nature, will strive to achieve everything that is asked of them but we feel the Government is not listening to us.
"It is great we have a chief constable who recognises the reality and wants to do something for his officers."
According to the survey, a fifth of staff had bullying or harassment among colleagues in 2011, compared with 11 per cent in 2010.
A force spokeswoman said: "It is important to us to be able to understand what our employees think and feel about their working environment, which is why we make an annual commitment to undertake a staff survey.
"We know that even though the survey results appear to show an increase in bullying, this is likely to be accounted for by the fact more people are willing to be open and honest about this issue in order to ensure the organisation can address it.
"It is a turbulent time in policing with our staff facing a huge amount of change and uncertainty.
"National changes to police officer terms and conditions combined with around 30 per cent of police staff facing redundancy may account for some of the sentiment.
"But there is simply no point in planning a staff survey in order to get good feedback – we choose times of challenge so we get results we really can learn from."