MORE than half of Wiltshire Police officers felt morale within the county’s force was low, a Police Federation survey found.

Almost 250 officers responded to the union’s survey, representing around a quarter of the county’s officers.

More than 60 per cent were dissatisfied with their pay and five per cent said they never or almost never had enough money to cover all their essentials.

The Police Federation said 40 per cent of officers reported having low morale themselves – while 56 per cent said morale within the force was low. A third said they did not feel that protective equipment issued during the pandemic was sufficient.

Insp Mark Andrews, chairman of the Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “Police officers’ morale is low because we feel unappreciated by a government who see us as an easy target for wage cuts.

“We are tired of being assaulted and unsupported by the courts and we are sick of being painted as the enemy when we try to deal with the confusion brought about when enforcing government legislation.”

He added: “My chief constable is likely to point out our figures are improving and that we are consistently better than most others in the country.

“I don’t think there is much to jump up and down about when 40 per cent of the officers responding had low morale and over 56 per cent feel morale in the force is low.

“I hope the chief constable and police and crime commissioner see this as an opportunity to work even harder with us to improve these numbers even more over the coming year.”

Nationally, the Police Federation survey found that just over a third – 34 per cent – of officers said they "had not had access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary during the Covid-19 crisis".

Assistant Chief Constable Jason Masters, who leads the National Police Chiefs' Council's work on PPE supply, said there was "no issue" with stocks among forces and that the wellbeing of officers was a "priority" for all police chiefs.

He said: "Every force has confirmed with the NPCC that they have adequate supply and also enough for the coming months."

He added that the latest monthly report from the Police Federation confirms all forces across the country "have been satisfied with their access to PPE for many months now".

The Home Office praised "brave police officers and staff" who have worked "heroically to protect the public during the pandemic", adding that anyone, including police, has access to coronavirus tests if needed.

Wiltshire Police has been approached for comment.