‘EXHAUSTED’ officers are quitting policing because they feel ‘let down’ by the Government and have had enough of the stresses and strains of the job, Hampshire Police Federation has said.
Nearly 2,400 officers voluntarily left policing in England and Wales last year, the highest number since 2015.
Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said a decade of austerity and cuts to the service together with the sheer demand being placed on modern officers were coming home to roost.
“There are several reasons why officers are leaving,” she said.
“Some will leave for personal reasons, but some are just exhausted and have had enough. I think the ten years of cuts have had an effect.
“Officers have had to work harder with fewer colleagues around them. All the cuts to police staff have had an impact.
“So many things that were completed by police staff before now have to be done by police officers and some officers have just had enough.”
Stagnated pay and changing pension conditions aren’t helping to keep good officers in the job either.
“The pension changes are another reason why some are leaving,” Zoe added.
“When you sign up to work for 30 years you then don’t expect that to change, in some cases to 41 years.
“Officers feel let down by the Government for these cuts and the pension changes.”
There doesn’t appear to be any quick fixes over the horizon either, Zoe said.
“Hampshire has done a tremendous amount around wellbeing, which has definitely helped, and the new officers joining will also make a difference, but you can’t undo ten years of tough times that quickly.
“The Government needs to invest hugely in policing. Hampshire, as a force, is underfunded. The funding formula needs addressing. With more funding, the fore can recruit not just new officers but also the police staff to support those officers.
“Even though there’s been a small win with the pension it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a win for most officers. Most officers are still going to have to work extra years.
“They signed up to work 30 years; they work hard for 30 years; they then don’t plan on working longer than that.
“They pay vast chunks of their wages into a pension scheme – it’s a good pension, but it’s not a cheap pension,” Zoe added.
“I think the burn out effect, there’s no quick fix to that. It’s just taken its toll on too many people.”