Poll reveals concerns among police officers about staffing levels


Eighty-four per cent of police officers believe there are not enough of them to meet the demands placed on them, a survey found.

Eighty per cent also said they sometimes felt unable to perform tasks because they have too much work to do, while 78% said there were not enough officers in their teams for them to do their jobs.

The poll of 16,841 officers was conducted by the Police Federation of England and Wales in conjunction with the University of Nottingham in February this year.

It further revealed that 58% of officers felt they did not have enough time to do their job to a standard they were proud of, and only 11% believed there were enough of them in their team to do their job properly.

Just 13% said they had the time to engage in proactive policing, with the majority just reacting to incoming jobs.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the results were alarming and provided the continued evidence that the past cuts to policing were having a detrimental effect on the bedrock of the service, such as neighbourhood policing.

He added: "This is not about us crying wolf; this echoes what we have been saying all along and we must ensure the public do not suffer as a result.

"I know officers sign up to this job because they have a sense of duty and they passionately believe in what they do - they want to make a difference and want to support communities and help people.

"What they don't want is to have to miss tasks, or not do things because of the sheer volume of work they are having to deal with."

Only 4% of respondents said they always get their rest breaks during work, with 53% saying they "never", or "rarely" did.

More than a quarter said they had difficulty trying to book holiday, with 27% saying their annual leave requests were "often" or "always" refused.

The results are due to be examined to see the impact demand is having on officers's welfare in light of reduced numbers.

Mr White continued: "The information we have around the impact of these high demands on officer welfare is worrying. More and more emergency service personnel are suffering from mental health problems caused by the stresses of work and it is like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off."