Two years before this year’s spate of calls for de-funding of police forces across north America, and a year before the botched response to violence that occurred at Hamilton Pride 2019, a survey of Hamilton Police officers and staff pointed to some significant morale issues.
What the survey appeared to reveal, was officers enjoy police work despite a lack of trust in senior command, inadequate training and a tough workload..
The survey, conducted as part of a business plan presented to the Police Service Board, showed some mixed signals around morale. While 81 percent of respondents said they felt supported and respected by co-workers, only 56 percent said they would recommend the Hamilton Police Service as a good place to work.
On the topic of workload, uniformed officers only 15 percent thought there were enough workers on their shift, only 38 percent felt they had the resources necessary to do their job and only 34 percent felt their workload was manageable.
Fully 40 Percent felt they did not receive sufficient training to deal with persons in crisis and 45 percent believe they are not provided the appropriate amount of training to do their job overall.
The biggest dissatisfaction came when officers were asked about the performance of senior command. Only 36 percent felt senior command is open to new ideas and less than half (46%) believe senior command is sensitive to the needs of employees.
The Ontario Ombudsman released its annual report today and identified two police-related recommendations it had made that were still pending:
A Matter of Life and Death (2016): Many of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, including body-worn cameras and a new use-of-force model that prioritizes de-escalation, are still being reviewed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General. New policing legislation is still not in force, but the Ontario Police College is working on new de-escalation training.
In the Line of Duty (2012): Reports by Ontario’s Chief Coroner on police suicides and the OPP’s expert panel on workplace culture were issued, and a mental health program is in the works. Ombudsman investigators continue to assess developments and the need for further investigation.