Police force admits job cuts 'likely' to dampen officers' morale
Fewer than half of the staff and officers at Devon and Cornwall police force, which is shedding 1,000 posts because of budget cuts, think it is a good place to work, an internal survey has shown.
The number of staff who said they thought the force was a good place to work fell by 20 percentage points in six months, according to a copy of its summer 2011 staff survey.
That fall, to 42.9 per cent compared with 62.9 per cent in the winter of 2010, was down from the 68.1 per cent approval rating recorded in May 2010, before the new Government began its spending cuts.
The survey, which was completed by more than half the force’s officers and support staff, also showed that 64.1 per cent thought senior officers were out of touch with front-line policing, up from 58.9 per cent last winter.
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The force admitted yesterday that the changes being made by Chief Constable Stephen Otter, including job cuts over the next four years, were “likely” to hit morale, but said it was committed to making them.
A spokesman said: “As a force we are going through a significant programme of change, including the reduction in numbers of staff and officers, which is affecting almost every part of the organisation.
“Clearly this is likely to have a downward effect on morale, but we are committed to making savings and providing the best policing service possible for Devon and Cornwall. The staff survey allows us to identify areas that need to be improved upon, digging a little deeper where necessary to understand exactly why our staff have these views so we can respond with measures that address these areas.
“This is an ongoing process and we are working hard to involve, listen and communicate with our staff wherever and whenever possible.”
The survey was returned by 2,960 people, 51.1 per cent of the force’s staff.