North Yorkshire Police officers 'demoralised by budget cuts'

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Eight out of 10 police officers in North Yorkshire have low morale, according to a survey of staff.

The North Yorkshire Police Federation, which carried out the survey, blamed the low morale on budget cuts.

Some 352 of the federation's 1,348 members took part in the survey, with 43.5% saying their morale was "not at all high" and 36% "not very high".

Chief Constable Dave Jones said economic woes continued to have "far-reaching effects on public services".

He acknowledged the survey's findings, but said: "We must take pride in knowing that [North Yorkshire is] still the safest place in England and we have achieved the highest public satisfaction figures in a recent national survey.

"This is only possible because of a committed, professional and motivated team at North Yorkshire Police."

The federation will discuss the findings with Mr Jones and Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan at a meeting on Thursday.

Federation chairman Mark Botham said the survey showed "the reality of the impact of cuts".

"No longer can we ignore the consequences of cuts on the service to the public," he said.

'Cut paperwork'

In October 2010 the government announced police nationally would face a 20% cut in funding by 2014-15.

North Yorkshire Police reduced staff and opening hours after it lost up to £11m of government funding.

The federation said morale would be improved by a reduction in paperwork and the recruitment of more frontline officers.

"If you replicated our survey across the country now, I think you would get very similar results," said Mr Botham.

"Many officers no longer see policing as a vocation."

Ms Mulligan said: "I also share many of the concerns expressed by our police officers, including reducing paperwork and bureaucracy and letting them get back out on the beat."

The online survey ran from 23 July to 12 September and used the same questions as a national study into workload, support, and morale, conducted in 1995.

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