A new report reveals that up to 20 per cent of Surrey Police officers are considering leaving their posts due to dismal morale and inadequate pay.

The Police Federation of England and Wales surveyed 460 officers, finding that 84 per cent experienced stress, low mood, or anxiety in the past year. Nearly 80 per cent expressed dissatisfaction with their pay, while 69 per cent felt burdened by excessive workloads.

Tom Arthur, Surrey Police Federation Branch Secretary, said morale was at an “all-time low”, noting that 90 per cent of surveyed officers confirmed low morale, primarily citing pay and feeling undervalued by the government. Approximately one in five Surrey officers are actively seeking alternative employment.

Despite the force's recruitment efforts, with hundreds of new officers joining, 12 per cent of police staff positions remained vacant as of November 2023. Alarmingly, 73 per cent of surveyed officers said they wouldn't recommend joining the police.

Financial strain was a significant concern, with 85 per cent feeling worse off financially than five years ago. Despite a seven per cent pay rise in 2023, officers have suffered a 16 per cent real-terms pay cut since 2011.

The force's support for its workforce was criticised in the latest PEEL report, highlighting gaps in understanding why staff leave. Officers expressed feeling disrespected by the government (95 per cent) and undervalued within the service (65 per cent).

Surrey Police said it had a wellbeing strategy “which places officer and staff wellbeing at the heart of the organisation”.

Adrian Rutherford, director of people services for Surrey Police and Sussex Police said: “We will be looking closely at the findings of the survey, alongside our recent internal employee opinion survey to look at what we can do to improve matters.”

Twelve per cent of police staff posts were vacant at the end of November 2023.