OFFICERS are leaving early on in their career because the challenges of completing a university degree while working as an officer are too great, Hampshire Police Federation has warned.
Money is being wasted in the police service too many officers leave before finishing their probation, Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair said.
Data from the the National Police Chiefs’ Council last month found that the average attrition rate is 9.1 per cent with 2,567 leavers from 28,173 new recruits. The figure is 9 per cent at Hampshire.
It costs around £67,000 to train an officer in the first year, according to Hampshire Police Federation.
Zoë said: “It’s just so, so tough for officers because they’re doing 80% of a police officer’s role and then they’re having to do a full-time university degree.
“For the first year, the degree’s not too much. But as they get to the second and third year, the amount of academic work – the assignments and essays – they have to do is huge. They’re saying that they’re having to take annual leave so that they can get the assignments done.
“They’re shattered from working their long shifts, then they’ve got to try and get their head around the Uni work. A lot of them want to do it and they want to do well, but the time pressures are just horrendous.”
Forces need to give more than 20% of officer time to get the work done, Zoë said.
She added: “The problem is, because we’ve been so strapped for resources, an officer in their second or third year are a competent frontline officer. They are part of your resource pool and we need them. We need them out on the streets but then they need the time to do their degree.
“So I understand the issue why forces are only giving the minimum, and I completely understand why some officers are saying, ‘I can’t do this’.”