Morale low among serving South Yorkshire Police officers

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Morale within South Yorkshire Police is falling, an internal staff survey has revealed.

New figures showed more than 1,200 staff said morale at work was ‘low’ or ‘very low’.

The survey was conducted in March, six months before a damning report into South Yorkshire Police failings over the Hillsborough disaster.

The force said it was working with staff to tackle the issues raised after 43 per cent of its 5,771 employees responded to the survey.

Staff were asked to rate their level of morale at work – of the 2,480 who responded, 35 per cent said it was ‘low’ while 23.8 per cent said ‘very low’. Only 19 per cent of staff said it was more than ‘high’.

Force bosses have organised special workshops with staff to address the issue.

But the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, put low morale down to cuts in police funding and changes to pensions – all external decisions made by the government.

When staff were asked whether morale at work had changed over the past year, 73.6 per cent – about 2,400 – of staff agreed with the statement ‘yes, it has gone down’.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Watson said: “The force is operating in an environment where, even though we are doing everything possible to protect frontline services, cutbacks and significant changes to services are the reality.

“The service faces some of the biggest national changes in its history around terms and conditions and pensions.

“Clearly, even in the best run forces, this all impacts on staff morale.”

Neil Bowles, South Yorkshire Police Federation chairman, said he was not surprised by the results.

He said: “The latest figures from the force prove the point of something we’ve been saying for a long time: nobody seems to care about policing.”