A proposed change in shift patterns will disrupt the lives of police officers and their families, the Defence Police Federation has warned.
The move towards two early, two-night, four day off shifts is being driven by new MOD Police Chief Constable Andy Adams who says he wants a ‘specific pattern’ across the force.
However, Federation Secretary Mitch Batt (pictured) said the change in work arrangements would be ‘yet another issue’ for members to contend with. “It’s another kick in the teeth,” he said.
“It’s all we get really – we hear that the force can’t afford the 1% non-consolidated bonus, or the unsociable hours allowance.
“Most of our officers have to wait until they are 68 until they retire, and they get 95% of the pay of what other Home Office police forces get. Now this.
“Nobody really seems to care about it, we get the fitness standards forced on us and now they’re saying to us ‘you’ve been working this way for 20 years but now we want to put you on another way of working.’”
He said the change will end up disrupting members’ lives.
“Officers have to arrange their private lives around their shifts, what they can or can’t do with their families or partners,” he added.
“One of our members has a child he sees every other weekend, but the new pattern will mean he’ll now only get one weekend off in seven.
“It also means that officers will finish shift at 7am on their rest day – it’s not really a rest day as they’ll have to catch up with their sleep.
“Shift patterns differ from establishments because they work for officers and are tried and tested.
“How can all of this not affect officer wellbeing?”
Speaking at last month’s DPF Conference, CC Adams said he wanted to see all establishments adopt one specific shift pattern and added that he had ‘got used’ to new rosters whenever he had been faced with them he added.
“I’ve been to a number of stations and asked them about their thoughts on this,” he told delegates.
“Some of them understand and have been positive some said they didn’t understand it – we don’t want to change things just because we fancy doing it, it’s the right thing to do.
“I can guarantee that people in the room won’t want to change their shift patterns when they’ve been working them for a long time – I didn’t want to go on a quick-change system when I was a young constable.
“But once I’d sorted my life around it I didn’t want to go back to the old system.”
He added: “I understand the tensions around it, so we will go back into the loop to explain it again, but the benefits have been communicated out.
“Flexibility will be looked at, but I do want one specific pattern for the whole force.”