Recruitment and Retention issues highlighted. Why are people leaving the job?

Hampshire Police is losing between 25 and 30 officers a month.

Zoê Wakefield, HPF Chair, listed the pandemic, poor police pay, the degree for new recruits problem and filmed recruitment interviews as reasons why the force recruited people who are now leaving.

Zoë said: “The recruitment campaign started before Covid, and we were probably one of very few people that were advertising at the time, so I think a lot of people joined policing because there was nothing else around at the time and they thought, ‘I’ll give it a go’.

“Another part of the problem is pay, because when they were joining at the beginning, for most of them, take home pay was less than £1,000, which you just can’t live on in the southeast region. I think some people didn’t realise how poor the pay would be, once their pension contributions have come out.”

Managing the challenges of studying for a policing degree alongside 24/7 shifts was also “just too much” for many, she said.

“I know a lot of people left for that reason. We lost around 20 officers to Thames Valley because they weren’t doing the degree.

“Hampshire weren’t interviewing face-to-face during Covid; officers were just sent a list of questions and they had to record themselves answering those questions and send it in. Now we are doing face-to-face interviews, we are only accepting the right people,” she added.

Around 4,500 officers left policing in their probation period since 2019 during the flagship uplift programme, according to figures obtained from 30 forces across England and Wales.

However, Hampshire Police has since made changes, meaning it is more likely to recruit officers who will stick around, Zoe said.

Zoë added: “We’re still something like 360 officers less than we were in 2010, and we are still losing 25-30 a month. We’ve still got a long way to go to get back up to even where we were in 2010, let alone the numbers that we actually need now.”

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