NEARLY two-thirds of Hampshire police officers who answered a survey on pay and morale would not recommend joining the force.
The research carried out by the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, showed that 84% in the county were dissatisfied with their pay and allowances, and almost half (49%) reported worrying about the state of their personal finances nearly every day.
The national questionnaire received 192 responses in Hampshire – equating to 7% of the county’s uniformed force.
It said 80% of Hampshire respondents felt that morale within the force is currently low, with 62% who would not recommend joining the police.
More than two-fifths (82%) felt that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, and 17% reported never or almost never having enough money to cover all their essentials.
And one in 10 (11%) said they intended to leave the police service either within the next two years or as soon as possible.
Hampshire Police Federation chair Alex Charge said: “The real area that officers in Hampshire are struggling with is finances. It’s a significant issue.”
He said the £1,000 south-east regional allowance officers receive has not been changed since 2001, and due to inflation was now worth £600.
Negotiations with the senior officers had led to proposals for index-linking the allowance being put to Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Michael Lane, he said.
Mr Charge added: “A lot of officers constantly worry about money. We’ve had people say that without overtime they would struggle to meet their monthly costs.
“The trouble is, in an ideal world, we want officers when they’re on their days off to be resting. But if they’ve got to come and work that’s more stress.”
Between 2010 and 2019, government funding cuts have led to uniform officer numbers in Hampshire falling by nearly a third (28%) from 3,748 to 2,697. The force is set to receive an extra 156 positions as part of a three-year national recruitment drive of 20,000.
Mr Lane confirmed to the A&T he was considering the proposal to increase the cost-of-living allowance as part of the 2020/21 budget, and this year had invested £750,000 in a police wellbeing package.
He said: “The wellbeing and welfare of Hampshire Constabulary staff is important and one of my highest priorities.
“I have campaigned and supported Hampshire Constabulary’s leadership in welfare services such as the introduction of the Police Medical Welfare Support Service, which is available to police officers, staff and family members of the force.”
As reported in the A&T, last year 98% of 1,608 officers who responded to a motion of no-confidence in Mr Lane voted against him. Earlier this year he was deselected by the Conservatives as their candidate for the PCC elections in May next year.