With the help of the Police Federation, an on-line survey was conducted in May this year resulting in 3,410 responses, one in ten of all serving women officers. Two thirds of the officers added comments, many of which were about problems of working flexibly and morale. One officer with 22 years of service remarked “Morale is the lowest I have ever known, the changes in our force are ill conceived. I have worked in CID for over 15 years but due to lack of front line recruitment we are having to back fill any uniform vacancies. Do I feel my experience is valued. Absolutely not ! I wish I could leave tomorrow.”
Altogether 40% of women had given serious thought to leaving which was consistent across rank, and length of service highlighting the lack of morale. Child care did feature significantly and the dilemma was expressed by this woman officer “pre-children I would have said ACPO for aspirational rank, but I cannot see how my husband and I can both juggle full time careers (he is DI in another force) when children hit pre-school / school age with time limitations that this imposes when coupled with commuting times. I do not think I am unique." Most officers, think that the Police Service will be even less flexible in the future in accommodating working women and a staggering 76%, three quarters of all those surveyed are pessimistic about the future of the Service.
Professor Jennifer Brown who undertook the survey stated that "the high response rate to the survey means that the Commission is tapping into some strongly held feelings from police officers about what is happening currently to reform the Police Service."