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Officer welfare - have your say

Officers are being asked to take part in a national welfare survey as the Police Federation seeks to measure the real cost of budget cuts. The online survey, launched today, will consider factors such as workload, stress levels, morale and fatigue. It also covers mental health and wellbeing support offered by forces.

"I would like to see all officers take part in this survey," says Tiff Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, "Officer welfare and the Force's provisions for supporting officers are among my key priorities for this year so this survey could help with our work in this area."

John Murphy, health and safety lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), said: "We've heard anecdotally that single crewing and smaller teams are a problem; there are some who take annual leave just to have a day to catch up on work, and we know that sickness and stress leave is happening far too often for officers just trying to do their jobs."

The Police Federation is working with Dr Jonathan Houdmont of the University of Nottingham to carry out the research. Dr Houdmont has conducted numerous wellbeing studies on behalf of Federations and constabularies. These studies have highlighted that officers can experience high levels of psychological distress.

Mental health charity MIND has also recently run a 'Blue Light' survey which found a high level of mental health need within emergency service personnel, including police officers.

The PFEW survey aims to build on these studies and on previous focus groups by exploring two key areas:

  • the nature of relations between increased demand and decreased officer numbers, and the health and wellbeing of officers across England and Wales
  • what support services officers are aware of and their opinions and experiences of these.

The survey is open to police officers only and closes on 29 February. The initial findings will be presented at the national Police Federation conference in May. Click here to complete the survey.