Police Federation Survey Reveals Worrying Extent Of Low Morale And Bullying At The RGP

More than half of RGP officers have expressed feelings of low or very low morale in a survey carried out earlier this year by the Gibraltar Police Federation (GPF) with 88% of those who participated adding that they also perceive the morale of the organisation as “low or very low.”

In addition, 46% of the officers have reported that they have been a victim of bullying/victimisation at work.

The completion rate of 90% was slightly higher than last year, which stood at 87% year. The GPF says that the results of the survey “reinforce concerns and further corroborates the highlighted issues that need to be dealt with.”

Here’s a summary of the results:

The survey was completed by 197 out of 217 members.  These results show that:

52% of the respondents expressed low or very low morale whilst 88% of officers perceived the morale of the organisation as low or very low.

47% of the workforce have stated that they have contemplated in leaving the RGP in the last twelve months.

46% of the officers have reported that they have been a victim of bullying/victimisation at work.

59% of these officers state that have been bullied within the last year

The 46% of respondents who state they have been bullied represents a total of 93 officers. 55 respondents state that they had been bullied just this past year. 92% of officers state that they have been bullied by either middle or senior management.

63% have stated that they have witnessed bullying / victimisation at work with 89% not reporting it, many commenting fearing possible repercussions and no faith in a positive outcome.

129 officers reported having witnessed bullying with 106 respondents stating that they had witnessed the bullying within the last twelve months.

14% of officers are confident of reporting matters through the grievance procedure process.

39% of Response Team officers were satisfied with the current 5-shift system. 72% think the RGP should operate a different Response Team pattern (12-hour shift system 4 on 4 off) as many feel current manpower levels are not properly sustained with rest days and change of hours constantly changed to meet operational demands.  

Although 54% of the members are satisfied or very satisfied with their current salary, 65% are unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with their allowances. 

79% of the members are unsatisfied with the current staffing levels in their shifts and departments highlighting health and safety issues with respect to low manpower levels and continued higher operational demands. 

6% of officers reported that they feel safe whilst carrying out operational duties. 

77% feel overworked with 44% currently suffering from work related stress. 6% were satisfied with the level of aftercare provided to officers by the organisation after an incident.

75% of officers are not satisfied with the level of counselling offered by the organisation with 79% stating they would make use of this service if it improved.

88% of the members have reported that they have had instances of their rest days changed with 61% not been given the required 15 days’ notice.

91% of the members have reported that their working hours/shifts been changed with 73% not being consulted and 63% not been given enough notice. 

10% of officers have reported that they are satisfied with the management of refreshment breaks and facilities.

44% were satisfied with their personal safety equipment. 85% of officers are unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with IT facilities.

7% of officers are satisfied with the security at police buildings.

75% did not feel that their promotion prospects were linked to their experience /qualifications and a large percentage did not feel that they were adequately managed with respect to personal assessments, mentoring/attachments, internal transfers, specialist training and retraining.   

A spokesperson for the GPF said: “We thank HM Government for having increased our manning levels. We have now seen ten extra new officers been employed recently and these are now going through their training period with a further extra fifteen officers to be recruited within the next two training schools. Further posts will be civilianized meaning that more officers will be able to be deployed to front line policing.

“The results of the survey however cannot just be attributed to the lack of manpower.

“The most valuable asset of our organisation are its officers and staff. Employee satisfaction stems for working for an organization that values employees’ talents, qualifications and expertise. Officers need to feel valued and treated with respect, they need to have their proper refreshment breaks and unbroken rest days to be fresh, ready and able to deal with the demands that come with the job. Needless to say, a happy workforce will promote morale and will increase productivity.

“The statistics in relation to bullying in this survey are worrying. No one can now argue that the bullying in the organisation is historical. The statistics speak for themselves. The only process for an officer to report bullying in the organisation is to go down the route of the grievance procedure. The results of the survey show that only 14% of officers have confidence in this procedure. More worryingly is the fact that the organisation does not have a policy on Bullying at Work and the Employment (Bullying at Work) Act 2014 is not applicable to Police officers due to their employment status.

“The results of this year’s survey fare worse than those of 2018. The results have been shared with management and the Federation will be again approaching them with a view of working together and improving the working conditions and procedures within the organisation.

“This is the Federation’s second survey in as many years and our intentions are to again conduct another survey next year as had been agreed by the Gibraltar Police Federation Board in 2018. This will give us the data to be able to assess and substantiate progression in the issues raised and to be able to identify any future concerns that may arise.”

About The GPF

The Gibraltar Police Association was established in 1961. Its Regulations were drawn under Section 52 of the Police Act. 

The main objectives of the Association were to enable police officers, under the rank of Superintendent, to consider and bring to the notice of the Commissioner of Police, the Gibraltar Police Authority or the Government matters affecting the welfare, (health and safety) and efficiency of the Force. 

On the 15th June 2018, Parliament unanimously approved the legislation and the Gibraltar Police Federation was enacted in law as an independent body.

In August 2018, the Gibraltar Police Federation carried out an online survey to give members a voice on what issues affected them. The results were subsequently shared with the media for everyone to see. Several issues were highlighted.

The Gibraltar Federation Board agreed that they would carry out an annual survey for a period of three years to assess whether there had been any improvements in the issues raised by members.

In May 2019, a new Chairman and Secretary were elected together with new Board members. The decision taken in 2018 to conduct an annual survey over a period of three years was respected and we recently asked our members to complete a second online Staff Survey, which has been conducted from the 5th August to the 16th September 2019.

The survey covers all aspects of members working conditions and welfare in the RGP.

This survey was conducted completely confidentially by an independent marketing agency.