HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today published an integrated PEEL report, focusing on
the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy of the first round of police forces. It comments that police forces are generally performing well but ‘cracks are widening’. PSA President Paul Griffiths gives the Association’s response to the report:
“Today’s HMICFRS report provides useful insight into both the achievements of our forces and the challenges facing policing today.
“It’s encouraging to see the many positive examples of work of which we should be proud, but it comes as no surprise that Inspectors have found a service under strain – something our Superintending ranks are managing every day.
“There are many priority issues to consider within this report, but as an Association with a vision to support and represent our members, I am pleased that the health and wellbeing of officers and staff is being highlighted in this way. For years we have fought to bring the spotlight on what we see as a crucial issue of concern within our Police Service. Again and again we have seen the effects of reduced funding, officer reductions and increasing demands being reflected in statistics and performance, but what has been overlooked for too long, is the effect on those delivering the service.
“Our own survey into the resilience of our members revealed shocking figures relating to the health and wellbeing of those working in policing today; in fact, 75% of our officers said that they typically worked more than 50 hours per week and 50% said they felt signs of anxiety. This has to change and we are furthering our research into this area to understand the current picture and working with the National Police Chiefs Council to address what is now a critical issue. The launch of the National Police Wellbeing Service this week is one of the many steps needed to protect those who are trying their best to protect the public
“Policing is carried out by officers who chose to join the Service because of a passion to serve and help the public. This means that typically, they go ‘above and beyond’ the norm, and when faced with higher demand and fewer colleagues, this ethos continues, often to the detriment of individual wellbeing.
“These issues are part of a much wider picture of a service that has its foundations built in a very different era. As a result, we strongly support an independent review into policing, which will cover these crucial points, as well as the two key areas that inspectors have noted as getting further and further apart – what the police are able to provide, and what the public want.”
The full HMICFRS report can be viewed here.