HAMPSHIRE Police faces another “two years of pain before the ultimate gain”, the Federation has said, as the force struggles to get officers to replenish the front line.
Almost 400 additional police officers have been recruited this year, but while they are trained and skilled, officers on the front line are still taking up the slack.
Hampshire Police Federation said: “Even though we’re still recruiting all these student officers, there’s so many officers now that are learning, and obviously whilst they’re still doing their degree they’re doing 20% of their time as university time, so it’s a real struggle for officers on the front line because they have so many abstractions and attachments. It’s not even going to get much better next year.
“It is a problem but you’ve kind of got to go through the pain for the ultimate gain. We’ve got two more years of pain because it’s not until December 2023 that our first lot of degree students finish their three-year degrees. The abstraction will not drop off until then. Then obviously we’ve got a lot of good officers who’ve been with us for three years, so things will eventually be better. But unfortunately that’s a long way off.”
Latest figures from the PCC showed that around 385 additional police officers were recruited for the area between April 2020 and September 2021, and that officer numbers will be boosted by 600 by the end of 2023.
Garry Smith, Federation Secretary, said it has been another difficult year for Hampshire’s police officers.
He said: “It’s a little bit lacklustre for officers. They have had a busy year with Covid, the battle with pensions, the battle with all the changes in restrictions and getting the vaccinations through the summer, and now with the latest changes in relation to masks. They have had a bashing. What can be done to improve the situation in 2022? A pay rise would go down really, really well.”