On Wednesday 13 February the Federation launched the findings of its national demand, capacity and welfare survey, to which they had over 18,000 responses from officers.

Whilst the findings in some areas give some cause for concern, there are some positives in that the service is moving in the right direction when it comes to talking about mental health issues.

The survey, which is the only national policing survey of its kind, undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales, saw officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector give their views on the demand currently experienced by the service and how this has affected them.

This is the second time this survey has been conducted, the first being in 2016.

This year’s survey found that there is an increase in lone working – new research reveals that 76.1% of respondents from relevant frontline roles* indicated that they are often or always single-crewed.

The results also show:

  • Almost 9/10 (89.8%) officers say that there are not enough of them to manage the demands faced by their team or unit
  • Almost every police officer has been exposed to at least one traumatic experience in their career, with 61.7% saying they had experienced at least one of these types of incident in the last 12 months
  • 79% of officers say they have felt feelings of stress and anxiety within the previous 12 months with 94% of those saying these difficulties were caused or made worse by their job
  • 43.9% of respondents reported that they viewed their job as very or extremely stressful. This is a larger proportion than reported in the results from the 2016 Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey (38.6%) and almost three times that found in the general population by the HSE in 2010 (15%), and that found by the Scottish Health Survey in 2017 (16%)

PFEW’s National Vice-Chair Ché Donald, said: “The police service’s most valuable resource is its people and these results should be a huge red flag to the Government, Chief Constables and the public. Officers are stressed, exhausted and consistently exposed to things people should never have to see – and these results show just how much it is taking its toll.”