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North Yorkshire police force hit by low morale problem
A CHIEF constable has told his officers to face up to reality after a study found 80 per cent of the force was suffering low morale.
The first such study by North Yorkshire Police Federation in almost two decades found officer morale had fallen from 60 per cent of officers reporting poor morale in 1995.
The study found 33.3 per cent of the 352 officers who took part were ‘not at all satisfied’ with the support they received from senior management.
Police sources said morale in the force was still low after the humiliation of its former chief constable Grahame Maxwell admitting gross misconduct two years ago and his deputy, Adam Briggs, retiring following a nepotism controversy.
When asked if there was one low-cost change that could be introduced to improve morale, numerous officers called for more recognition of their work and extra frontline officers.
Other officers called for less paperwork, particularly when it did not relate to an arrest.
One officer said he and his colleagues were not being given time to complete ongoing investigations, while another claimed morale was at an all-time low due to a lack of resources.
However, nearly 80 per cent of those taking part in the survey were satisfied with their support from immediate supervisors.
Mark Botham, the federation branch's chairman, said the 18 years between the surveys had seen police budgets slashed by 20 per cent and officer numbers fall.
He said: “No longer can we ignore the consequences of cuts on the officers delivering the service to the public.”
Mr Botham said officers would deliver a series of “penetrating and challenging” questions to the chief constable Dave Jones and police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan at a federation open meeting at the Majestic Hotel, in Harrogate, tomorrow (September 19), at 7pm.
Mr Jones acknowledged the study's findings, but said he felt it important to recognise "the world is a very different place to what it was when the last survey was conducted, in 1995".
He said: “Since the last survey we have seen many changes and challenges, in particular the ongoing global economic crisis which continues to have a far-reaching financial effect on public services, such as the police."
Mrs Mulligan said she shared concerns raised in the study, such as the amount of paperwork officers face.
She said: "I appreciate the pressures of the job, and hope our commitment to preserving officer numbers proves how seriously the chief constable and I take protecting the frontline."
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