Third of Police Scotland workforce intend to leave
Only 8 per cent of current police workforce believe organisation is genuinely interested in their wellbeing, survey finds
One in three police officers and staff intend to leave the service within the next three years, a survey carried out for Police Scotland has found.
The survey, which almost 12,000 officers and staff responded to, suggests not feeling valued, a lack of resources as well as changes to pensions are among the reasons for wanting to quit.
Fewer than one in ten of the current police workforce believe the organisation is genuinely interested in wellbeing, according to the survey.
The Scottish Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the findings should serve as a “wake-up call” for Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and government.
A total of 11,796 people responded to the first joint organisation-wide opinion survey – around half of officers, staff and special constables employed by Police Scotland.
Whilst 60 per cent felt able to raise issues about their physical health with line managers and 53 per cent when it comes to mental health, only 8 per cent thought the organisation was interested in their wellbeing.
Among the other findings are:
- 73 per cent of respondents thought that the people in their teams work well together with 77 per cent saying they are treated with respect by their line manager
- Almost half of respondents felt they were overloaded with information
- 23 per cent of respondents got their information from the media, while one in five (21 per cent) were clear on how promotion decisions were made
SPA chair Andrew Flanagan said: “The results speak for themselves and we will not seek to rationalise them away.
“There are a number of very positive findings within the survey that provide reassurance and which we must build upon. There are also issues of concern and areas for improvement.
“The clear priority areas are the commitment of officers and staff to stay with the organisation, health and wellbeing, and communications. It is on those priority areas that the SPA expects a strong management response, and on which SPA will use its influence and oversight.”
Candidates shortlisted to replace Sir Stephen House as chief constable will be challenged on how they would “personally address” issues raised in the report, he added.
A response plan to the survey results will be drawn up with a further “temperature test” survey of the workforce in 2016 followed by another full exercise a year later.
Federation chairman Brian Docherty said: “Almost without exception a lack of finance lies at the heart of myriad of issues this survey identifies.
“The service, Scottish Police Authority and government cannot ignore the reality that a lack of funding is having a detrimental impact on the men and women in the service and that unless addressed immediately, will ultimately see our communities suffer.”
Gerry Crawley, UNISON regional organiser and lead negotiator for police support staff in Scotland, said: “The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland have received a clear message from UNISON members who work in the service and are committed to delivering an excellent service to the public in Scotland.
“And the message is this: Don’t under value our roles, don’t ignore our issues, listen to our opinions and act on them.”
However, only nine per cent of respondents believed that senior managers in SPA and Police Scotland would take action on the results of the survey.
Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson said the findings show Police Scotland has a “motivated workforce” who wish to help shape the organisation.
He said: “Change will of course have an impact on staff. This survey makes clear that changes to police officer pensions, issues around health and wellbeing, information and communication also have an impact to staff.
“Our challenge now is to demonstrate action in relation to these findings and while there is much work already underway in relation to many of the issues raised, we need to fully understand some of the detail behind the results to ensure we’re focusing our actions in the right way.”
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