Demand of officers is taking its toll
03 March 2017
Police officers are under increasing demand, and this is affecting the quality of their work.
That is yet another concerning statistic thrown up by the recent welfare survey. With more than 60 per cent of officers saying workload was too high. One of the impacts of this was proactive policing, with 70 per cent of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing that they have enough time to engage in such a thing.
Jason Kwee, Chair of the Health and Safety sub-committee, says one of the Peelian principles of policing is the ‘prevention of crime and disorder’.
“One of the most effective ways to do this is with proactive patrols. I remember when there were sufficient staffing levels on the shift, a couple of officers would don their ‘civvy jackets’, take out an unmarked car and target specific areas or individuals. Unfortunately, such opportunities rarely exist anymore, with officers barely managing to cover the stacked calls and incidents that roll in on an average shift.”
The survey also found that more than half of respondents (58 per cent) disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to do their job to a standard of which they could be proud.
Mr Kwee said this wasn’t surprising, as the problem with the high demand placed on officers these days is that they get frustrated that they don’t always get the opportunity to give a consistent gold standard service.
“Policing is a proud vocation and officers come to work to give the best service to the community they serve. As with most things in life, if you focus on the quantity element, then the quality may suffer.
“With the constant pressure of incoming incidents, and the increasing lack of available resources, officers attending incidents will no doubt feel pressured to complete the current task as quickly as needed and to move on to the next incident. Unfortunately, no one benefits from this, especially the victims of crime.”
Other headline figures from the Demand survey:
66% of officers indicated that their workload was too high
43% had to often or always neglect tasks because of having too much to do
67% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were able to meet all of the conflicting demands on their time
70% disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to engage in proactive policing
58% disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough time to do their job to a standard of which they could be proud
67% agreed or strongly agreed that that they often had to work in crisis mode trying to do too much too quickly
54% agreed or strongly agreed that when the pressure builds up they are expected to work faster, even if it requires shortcuts
You can read more about the full Welfare survey and the results here