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2 October 2015, 16:06
A third of Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority staff want to leave within the next three years, a major survey has found.
Candidates to replace outgoing Chief Constable Sir Stephen House will be challenged to say how they will address concerns of staff who say they feel undervalued, lack necessary resources, feel pressure in their job and have concerns about their work/life balance, the SPA said.
Changes to the police pension was a factor in almost half (49%) of the responses of those who want to leave.
All 23,438 police officers, staff and special constables were surveyed and 11,796 responded (50.4%), a "significantly higher'' response rate than surveys conducted by other similar-sized organisations.
The responses were also "relatively consistent'' across all ages, genders and ethnicities.
Overall, 73% of respondents thought the people in their teams work well together; 83% said they are treated with respect by their colleagues at work; and 78% enjoyed strong, positive relationships with their peers.
More than three-quarters say they are treated with respect by their line managers who trust them to do their job.
But nearly half of respondents felt overloaded with information, with 78% experiencing a reliance on e-mail.
While the majority of staff said they felt able to raise physical and mental health and wellbeing issues with line managers, just 8% of respondents thought the organisation was genuinely interested in wellbeing.
SPA chair Andrew Flanagan said: "There are a number of very positive findings within the survey that provide reassurance and which we must build upon. There are also issues of concern and areas for improvement.
"The clear priority areas are the commitment of officers and staff to stay with the organisation, health and wellbeing, and communications.
"It is on those priority areas that the SPA expects a strong management response, and on which SPA will use its influence and oversight.
"One immediate step SPA will take is within the assessment and appointment process of the new chief constable.
"All those shortlisted can expect to be challenged by me on how they would personally address the central issues within today's report.
"A detailed response plan will now be drawn together by Police Scotland, informed by further engagement with the workforce. That will be subject to scrutiny by the authority in December and will also be the subject of a further 'temperature test' survey of the workforce in a year's time.
"A comparable workforce survey will then be repeated in the summer of 2017, with a clear expectation of material improvements where improvement is required.''
Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson said: "We have a motivated workforce which has a real sense of connection with the value of their work.
"They also expressed a strong desire to help shape the organisation going forward. We need to listen to that and reflect the views of all police officers and staff.
"Policing in Scotland has been through major change and has delivered many benefits to the communities we serve, but our officers and staff are clearly telling us there is more we must do in terms of engaging them in the journey ahead.
"Our challenge now is to demonstrate action in relation to these findings and while there is much work already under way in relation to many of the issues raised, we need to fully understand some of the detail behind the results to ensure we're focusing our actions in the right way.''