'National crisis' in police morale says former head of Met
Sunday 04 November 2012
The former head of the Metropolitan Police has said there is a “national crisis” in police morale after research revealed 95% of serving officers do not feel they have the support of the Government.
Lord Stevens, who was the Met's commissioner from 2000 until 2005, warned that many officers believed that austerity-related reforms to the police service were being forced upon them without any consultation.
The ex-officer, who is currently chairing the Independent Commission on the Future of Policing, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We have a national crisis of morale which threatens to undermine the work our officers are doing.
"If we're asking men and women to put their lives on the line to protect us, then I think they should know they've got the full support of the Government.
"These results show that they do not perceive this to be the case."
Emphasising that morale has drastically dropped among officers in recent times, he added :"I think we're plummeting to the bottom."
A study conducted on behalf of Lord Steven's commission polled 14,000 serving officers, from constables to chief superintendents.
It found 95% did not feel they have the support of the Coalition, while only 0.1% of those surveyed thought ministers offered the service "a great deal of support."
Lord Stevens said he had never seen such figures in more than 40 years of policing.
The Home Office has demanded that forces axe 20% from their budgets by 2015, while officers are facing a pay freeze, pension reform and big changes to how the service is run.
Lord Stevens said: "We're hearing from officers that change is happening too fast and with a lack of consultation.
"They feel change is being forced upon them, without them being involved in the process."
The research found that a third of officers were "very worried" about being forced to retire because of cuts.
Lord Stevens added: "I don't think people are pleased with pay freezes and changes to their pensions, but I also think it's about how they've been given the credit for the job they've done."
The commission was set up by the Labour Party last year with shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper inviting the peer to become the chair.
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