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Wellbeing survey finds “significant” increase in intention to quit

An independent survey carried out with the Policing Research Unit at Durham University has found that the intention to quit has significantly increased over the past twelve months.

The survey concluded that policing continues to be a “challenging and stressful occupation”. It found that general wellbeing had returned to where it was pre-pandemic while job satisfaction and a feeling of being valued by the public have declined.

The level of intention to quit is now the highest that it has been over the past three years and was found to increase with the length of service.

Leadership skills for both frontline officers and staff were a “key priority” the report said and it found a “critical link” between supportive leadership and wellbeing and attitudes.

The survey received responses from over 36,500 officers, staff and volunteers, representing a 60 per cent increase on the number of respondents from the previous year, 13.2 per cent of which were officers.

Average scores for feeling valued by co-workers and supervisors remained at a high level with no significant change since the previous survey.

Scores on the ability to switch off outside work (psychological detachment) had also improved but fatigue levels have increased, with 29.6 per cent of officers now saying that they experience high levels of fatigue.

Findings will be used to evidence the development of the work of the National Police Wellbeing Service and College of Policing.

The Police Covenant was enshrined in law last September and creates a statutory duty for forces to support officers.

A further survey is planned for the end of 2022 to assess changes.

Andy Rhodes, Service Director for the College of Policing’s National Police Wellbeing Service said: “Some of the findings are challenging and should be seen in the context of a demanding year for policing as we have emerged from the pandemic combined with a series of events which have drawn significant criticism of the service.

“This survey captures the voice of over 36,000 police officers and staff and enables police chiefs, the College of Policing and National Police Wellbeing Service to prioritise the health of their people.

“There are enduring problems that we must take steps to address. In particular the problem of hindrance stressors – this leaps off the page this year which is why it has been identified as a Police Covenant and HMICFRS priority.’’

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, College of Policing CEO, said: “On a daily basis police officers and staff are exposed to distressing events which we know has a considerable effect on their mental health and wellbeing. This survey has emphasised the importance of looking after our people so they are able to look after the public.

“Some of the issues identified are not new and we must redouble our efforts to find solutions and make sure police officers and staff are getting the best support and care.

“The new Police Covenant is welcome recognition of the important role that those in policing fulfil to help make communities safer. The College of Policing’s National Police Wellbeing Service, Oscar Kilo, will continue to work with the wider policing family to tackle the problems raised.

“The findings will also inform work to establish the National Police Leadership Centre so we develop people focussed leaders at every rank who recognise how important it is to look after each other.”

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