No Quick Fix To Police Officer Attrition Problem

There is “no quick fix” to the problem of experienced officers leaving the police service and there being more young-in-service officers than ever before, the Chair of Hampshire Police Federation has said.

A new HMICFRS report found that there were increasing attrition rates in the police and said that despite the Police Uplift Programme, forces were still operating with inadequate levels of officers.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “It’s a massive concern. We’ve got young-in-service officers teaching young-in-service officers. We’ve got young-in-service supervisors, supervising younger-in-service officers.

“It’s an issue all round and people are doing the best job they can, but because they just don’t have the experience, we’re finding mistakes are being made.

“Policing is one of those jobs where your knowledge comes through experience and there’s no other way of doing that.

“Because we went for years without recruiting hardly anybody, and now we’ve had a vast recruitment, that’s where all our staff are. They are young in service and a lot of the experienced officers are either in specialist departments or they’ve left.”

Zoë added there was no quick fix and that it would be another two or three years before the new intake of officers gained the experience they needed.

She said: “A lot of our student officers are brilliant and they’re doing some really good work, but they don’t know what they don’t know.

“If the Government wants to stop experienced officers leaving policing, it needs to address the pay issues, because a lot of people are leaving to find better-paid jobs outside policing. Others are leaving because of the stress and strains of the job, which is down to not having enough police officers.

“We still haven’t got enough police officers, even despite this recruitment. We’re continuing to recruit because, even though we’re recruiting a lot, we’re losing at the other end. Our recruitment is two steps forward, one step back.”

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