More than 40pc of Suffolk Police have not had access to adequate PPE
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
More than 40pc of Suffolk police officers have not had access to adequate personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found.
The Police Federation has published the results of its annual pay and morale study which is based on responses from 25,558 members around the country.
It found that 43% of officers in Suffolk who responded to the survey said they “had not had access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary during the COVID-19 crisis”.
More than half – 51% – of Suffolk officers polled said they did not have access to antigen testing for Covid via the force, while 70% said they did not have access to antibody testing.
But 52% of respondents from the force said they had received adequate training on the COVID-19 crisis from their force.
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A further 61% of Suffolk officers felt that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, and 72% felt that morale within the force is currently low.
While 59% said that they would not recommend joining the police to others.
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A total of 332 survey responses were received from Suffolk police, representing a response rate of around 27% based on July 2020 officer headcount figures.
Darren Harris, Suffolk Police Federation chairman, said the results came as no surprise and that officers were “putting themselves in harm’s way” and making “herculean efforts” to keep the public safe without getting the recognition they richly deserve.
“These results do not come as a shock to us and should give some serious concern to the constabulary’s senior leadership team,” he said.
“I will share this survey with the chief constable so that he can dissect it and I would hope that he and the senior leaders in the constabulary will work with the Suffolk Federation Council and me to address the concerns our members have raised.
“I would also hope that the chief constable will raise and share our concerns with the police and crime commissioner and the government.”
Suffolk police said the force “worked tirelessly” to make sure officers had access to adequate PPE.
A constabulary spokesman said: “The safety of officers has always been our number one priority throughout this crisis and continues to be so. In the early stages of this pandemic we faced some challenges with PPE provision, which was a national issue and not one unique to Suffolk.
“However, our teams worked tirelessly make sure officers had a steady supply of stock. We must make sure our workforce is protected, so we can do our job of protecting the public. PPE is essential in achieving this, as is the guidance which we’ve always fully complied with.
“We have secured sufficient supplies of PPE and have provided clear guidance on what officers should be wearing and when, with 89% of officers in this survey saying our messaging has been effective.”