Inspectors call on Chief Constables to tackle working conditions and long hours

Published on Friday, 09 March 2012 15:04
Posted by Scott Buckler

The pressure of police budget cuts is having a disproportionate impact on inspectors and chief inspectors and could lead to the demise of public confidence in policing according to independent research

The work was commissioned by the Police Federation of England and Wales’ Inspectors’ Central Committee.

The findings of the Time for Justice? report are so alarming and worrying that the Inspectors’ Central Committee has written to the 43 chief constables across England and Wales imploring them to tackle the problems before it’s too late.

Alan Jones, Chairman of the Inspectors’ Central Committee of the Police Federation of England and Wales says chief officers can no longer sit back and allow their officers to work themselves into the ground.

We issued a stark warning to chief officers in 2007 when we released the Well Being at Work survey where it was clear that inspectors were at risk of being over worked and on a downward health spiral. Unfortunately, the majority of chiefs chose to ignore our advice and now we are faced with a diminishing, tired workforce at the end of their tether.”

“Chief inspectors and inspectors clearly have a strong commitment to their profession but the feedback suggests that mistakes are bound to happen due to long hours, fatigue and ill health caused by the stresses of the job. One of the most worrying things to come from the latest research is that inspectors feel they cannot bring their concerns to the attention of their chief officers because they are afraid of being deemed weak or incapable.The police service simply won’t be able to maintain a high level of public service if the rank in charge of frontline officers is on the verge of collapse. Currently inspectors are putting their job before themselves so it’s a matter of time before disaster strikes. ”

The report’s authors conclude that the police service is at a great risk as a result of the pressures faced by the inspecting ranks.

Dr Victoria Wass said; “The feedback we received shows that the current workload of inspectors is not sustainable. Eventually there won’t be enough inspectors to manage the frontline.

Co-author Professor Peter Turnbull added; “As working hours become increasingly onerous, sick leave due to stress and over-working increases and officers won’t be applying for promotion to the inspecting ranks. Who will perform the role of inspectors in future? With a decreasing, unhappy and dissatisfied workforce, understandably unable to cope with the demands being placed upon it, the quality of the service will only reduce and ultimately it is the public who will pay the price.”

Over 4,500 police inspectors took part in the online survey which was commissioned in response to the renewed pressures and increased workloads highlighted by the Comprehensive Spending Review against the back drop of the Government’s imposed 20 percent cuts to policing.

The Inspectors’ Central Committee commissioned Cardiff Business School to undertake the survey. The objective was to provide an up-to-date assessment of the impact of budget cuts to policing. 

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