Birmingham & Black Country

West Midlands Police officers feel ill-equipped

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims
Image caption Chief Constable Chris Sims announced budget cuts last week

More than half of a group of West Midlands police officers surveyed have said they do not have the right equipment needed to do their job.

The dissatisfaction was voiced in an internal staff survey completed by more than a third of the workforce.

It was announced last week that West Midlands Police (WMP) is to slash its budget by £126m over four years.

A WMP statement said its officers remained "dedicated" to delivering the "best service possible to the public".

Hindering service

The survey was carried out in June and July of this year with 4,626 people responding to the questions, equating to about 35% of WMP's workforce.

The majority of staff said they had the equipment they required to do their job, but only 48% of officers and 38% of Police Community Support Officers agreed.

More than a quarter of officers (28%) felt they were making progress in serving and protecting their communities while 80% felt seeking approval was hindering their levels of service.

The findings also revealed that 69% of staff did not agree that morale was high, although 61% admitted they still took a great deal of satisfaction from their job.

The immediate loss following last week's announcement of cuts is a reduction of 390 posts made up of 173 police officers and 217 police staff.

'Challenging time'

It is expected that 88 people will face compulsory redundancy by the end of March 2012.

In a statement, WMP said it was mindful that it was a "very challenging time" for its employees.

"At such a time it's hardly surprising that the results from the survey are mixed," it said.

"On the positive side, the majority of staff said they got a great deal of satisfaction from their job, they feel personal responsibility for delivering a high standard of service to the public and are supported by line managers.

"On the opposite side, many staff find their current role frustrating, they feel restricted by unnecessary regulations or force practices and three quarters feel that our service can suffer because there are too many approvals required for routine decisions.

"We now plan to establish a small working group to look at how we intend to address some of the issues raised in the survey."

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