A message from Staffordshire Police Federation chair Lee Robinson

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year and managed to take some time off to rest and relax at what is always a busy time of year for us.

There’s been a lot to talk about over the past few weeks, not least the Federation’s annual pay and morale survey which once again suggested wide levels of dissatisfaction across policing both in Staffordshire and the rest of the country.

From our point of view, the Force has taken steps to improve things over the last year by changing the local policing model and, while I think it is clear that there have been improvements in many parts of the Force, there are clearly still some issues, particularly around resource numbers and demand management.

I think it’s fair to say that some aspects of the new model have seen improvements while others probably need tweaking a bit more and have perhaps not worked as well as planned.

Our Chief Constable certainly says the right things and I am hopeful that over the next few months a lot of the promises he has made in relation to these changes will happen.

Pay remains a massive issue in policing but we all know there’s much more to the low morale across the Force than just money.

Obviously it is a factor and there’s no doubt our members don’t feel they are being properly rewarded for the jobs they do but there are lots of other reasons that can be addressed.

The organisation has to make sure its officers and staff are being properly looked after.

Working conditions are important, resources are important, having the right vehicles available at the right times and making sure they are in good order is important and making sure refreshment breaks are allowed and are uninterrupted is important.

These things all matter and when they are neglected or not taken seriously or treated as a priority then morale is bound to suffer. 

It is about culture as well, about making sure people feel well-supported, well-trained, given the right uniform. It is about making it an attractive place to be.

The problem of workload and demand is one that doesn’t seem to go away and I would encourage all our members to try to keep work and family life as separate as possible.

I know in certain areas resource numbers are still very low and incident numbers are still very high so officers are not getting a break, they are taking their laptops home and catching up on the crime updates on their rest days and that is not acceptable and shouldn’t be happening.

I do understand why people do it but I there’s nothing wrong with leaving your laptop at work and picking it up again tomorrow because if you take it home you are going to end up working and eating into your family time.

Another challenge over the next few months is making sure police officers don’t end up doing jobs they shouldn’t be doing.

There needs to be a conversation at executive level with our partners in mental health services and the NHS. We accept and appreciate the challenges they face but that doesn’t make everything our problem and if we can ease that workload it will free up officers’ time to spend in their communities, protecting people and detecting crime.

I’ll end with a reminder that members with any concerns or issues should not hesitate to contact their Fed rep - that’s what we’re here for.