In November 2020, the second annual national policing wellbeing survey was launched with the Policing Research Unit at Durham University and over 22,000 officers and staff took part.

The aim of the survey is to give every member of the policing workforce across England and Wales the opportunity to tell us how they truly feel at work so we can start to build a really clear picture of what we need to work on.

We would like to say a huge thank you to every one of the 22,895 people who provided responses to this survey.

Almost 11,000 (7.9%) of respondents were police officers (of all ranks), alongside almost 11,000 (14.5%) police staff (of all grades), over 1,000 PCSOs and 85 Special Constables and 40 volunteers.

Of note, this survey was conducted during the pandemic and was adapted to include a question set to give an indication of the impact of the pandemic on officers and staff.

The findings of this survey will also be included in the NPCC Covid-19 workforce recovery plan.

Summary of the key findings

  • Both officers and staff both reported feeling more valued by their force than they did in 2019.
  • The ability to switch off and recharge energy outside of work was found to have improved since the last survey for both officers and staff.
  • Police officer sleep quality has improved in the last year with average reported frequencies for both disturbed sleep and insufficient sleep reducing and those reporting having less than 6 hours sleep has reduced from 45% to 40%, however;
  • Levels of fatigue overall show that 29.2% of police officers and 23.5% of police staff indicate that they still experience extremely high levels of fatigue.
  • There has been a slight increase post-traumatic stress symptoms experienced by police staff at 55%.    
  • Overall, the average scores for all police officers experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress have remained unchanged at around 64%.
  • Average levels of physical wellbeing have declined in both officers and staff.
  • There has been a decrease in feeling valued by the public for police officers and the feeling of being valued by the public overall is at a moderately low level by both officers and police staff, however:
  • Job satisfaction has remained moderately high for police officers and high for police staff and intention to quit has declined with public service motivation continuing to be at a very high average level.

Andy Rhodes, Service Director for Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), said;

“Over 22,000 people responded to our second survey on wellbeing which, in itself, is a big positive in times when officers and staff are being asked to fill in more surveys than ever before – and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their time.

“The global pandemic has also meant that we have been policing in very different times, but despite the stresses, strains and uncertainty, officers and staff across the country have remained highly committed throughout.

“It’s really encouraging to see that people feel more valued by their forces as well as by peers and supervisors, and that we are seeing improvements in things like the ability to ‘switch off’ after work, and in sleep quality and awareness of self-care.

“Following the results of the last survey, where the issues of sleep and fatigue were loud and clear, we launched several pieces of work including our ‘Better Sleep’ webinars with a renowned sleep expert and the initiation of a pilot study into fatigue and shift work – but with the figures still showing us that some are still experiencing extremely high levels of fatigue, there is still more to do, and we will continue to put focus into this area.”

The results of this survey will help prioritise our work at both a national level and in the support we provide to individual forces and there is already work underway to develop services around some of the things which have been raised as issues including:

DCC Bernie O’Reilly, CEO of the College of Policing, said;

“We ask our officers and staff to do an incredibly challenging job every day. It’s vital we look after them and importantly understand their needs and that’s why this survey is so important. We will take a hard look at the findings of the survey and then see what we can do to support colleagues further.”

Download the full report below