Fedster + 1,307 Posted January 10, 2018 Share Posted January 10, 2018 Almost 50 per cent said they always or often worked alone and were attacked with a weapon at least once in the last year. Single crewing could be putting the safety of police officers at risk, according to results of a new joint study by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) and University of Nottingham. The report – ‘Single Crewing in English and Welsh Policing: Frequency and Associations with Violence Towards and Injuries in Officers’ canvassed the views of 11,397 officers from 43 territorial forces. Officers who said they were often, or always single crewed had "significantly elevated odds" of being subjected to verbal insults and threats and physical attacks and injuries requiring medical attention, the results showed. Almost three quarters of officers said they were single crewed often or always in the preceding 12-month period to February 2016. The study found 71 per cent of respondents reported being verbally insulted, 55 per cent verbally threatened and 44 percent were the victim of an unarmed physical attack at least once per month during the same time period. It also said 47 per cent reported they were attacked with a weapon at least once within the last year and 26 per cent suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention as a result of work-related violence. Young, male, less experienced officers of lower rank were more likely to be on the receiving end of abuse, the researchers found, with response and neighbourhood policing officers reporting the most frequent victimisation. But researchers did not find any notable trends connected with ethnicity. PFEW lead on operational policing, Simon Kempton said single-crewing could also impact the way an officer will react to dangerous incidents. He said: "An officer on their own is more likely to have to resort to a greater level of force to resolve an issue where a double crewed team might be able to use simple arm holds for example." Mr Kempton said single crewing affects the overall quality of service provided as some suspected criminals are not being taken to account. "For example, it is less likely that a single crewed officer will stop a suspicious vehicle full of suspects in a remote location at night because of the risk to them. "Single crewed officers, until Body Worn Video is issued to all, are more susceptible to false complaints or allegations from those who would lie about the police in order to detect from their own behaviour or because of simple malice." Mr Kempton added single crewing is “fundamentally a consequence of budget cuts and the lack of resources across forces.” "There are times, for example when one officer is taking a protracted statement that it would be inefficient to be with a colleague. However the default position ought to be double crewing of officers engaged in patrol work for the bene?t of them and of the public," he said. Earlier research (including McKenzie and Whitehouse 1995) found officers working solo are seen as more approachable by the public and work more efficiency than double-crews. But the study sounded a warning alarm about the sacrifices to officer welfare. The report stated: “In a time of austerity characterised by unprecedented cuts to policing budgets single crewing might represent an efficient use of limited resources. “However, this exploratory study has highlighted a possible undesirable correlate of single crewing concerning the safety of police officers in England and Wales…our initial findings suggest that the gains achieved by single crewing should be considered against possible negative implications for officer safety, health, and, by extension, operational effectiveness. “Although conclusions on relations between single crewing and officer safety drawn on the basis of the current findings should be drawn with caution, these initial findings suggest that operational gains achieved by single crewing should perhaps be considered against negative implications for officer safety and, by extension, reduced productivity and lost working days.” The PFEW will present results of the study at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology conference from 10-12 January at the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-upon-Avon. Only officers for whom single-crewing is applicable to their role were included in the study. Police Oracle has contacted the National Police Chiefs’ Council for comment. View On Police Oracle Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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