The Metropolitan Police Force has been ‘named and shamed’, together with three other forces, for failing to improve officers’ work-life balance.
The Police Federation has slammed four constabularies – Metropolitan, Northhamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Thames Valley – for ignoring recommendations from last year’s ‘Well-being at Work’ census, which aimed to improve workloads for those officers tasked with managing frontline policing.
The federation, which represents all 140,000 rank-and-file officers, heard the comments at its annual conference yesterday.
Paul Ginger, chairman of the Inspectors’ Central Committee, claimed there was still a lack of support for senior officers, particularly around long hours, excessive travel time and work interfering with home life, despite the census providing clear indication last year that action was needed.
“This failure to act is extremely disappointing and highly detrimental to the morale of the rank of inspector,” he said. He warned that the strong levels of commitment displayed by senior officers currently at the four poor-performing forces would deteriorate “if excessive workloads and lack of work-life balance prevail”.
Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Merseyside and South Wales were hailed as being some of the best forces that had improved work-life balance over the past year. “If they can do it – and demonstrate how much they value their staff – then why can’t these four? They should be ashamed of themselves,” Ginger said.
However, Martin Tiplady, HR director at the Met Police insisted the force was doing all it could to improve work-life balance, and questioned’s the federation’s findings.
He told Personnel Today: “We take the health and well being of our staff and officers very seriously. Our work in this field is acknowledged and our shift pattern toolkit has been accepted as best practice and adopted by the National Police Improvement Agency which was then rolled out to UK police forces. We have an extensive staff support and health and well being service.”
Nigel Willey, head of HR management at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This matter has been discussed with the Police Federation and further analysis of its content is being undertaken. The force takes very seriously the wellbeing of all our officers and staff and has a range of support policies and facilities to aid officers and staff in their wellbeing.”
Northamptonshire Police’s assistant chief constable Derek Talbot said: “We looked carefully at the federation recommendations and could see no significant improvements to the way in which we currently support the inspecting ranks in their challenging role.
“Staff wellbeing is at the core of the way we manage people and we recently published an HR strategy that devotes an entire section to this important aspect of our work.”
Thames Valley police force was unavailable for comment last night.