Third Of Officers ‘Inexperienced’

IT is “a real worry” that up to a third of police officers are inexperienced and so young in service, especially with a summer of large-scale events, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report saying that up to a third of all police officers in England and Wales will be inexperienced as part of the Government’s 20,000 officer uplift programme.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “The vast majority of officers who have joined Hampshire are good. But there are a lot of things you can’t teach, including dealing with public-order situations, like festivals and football matches. In August we’ve got the Boomtown music festival, Victorious Festival, we’ve got two big Saints football matches, other big matches, and because resources are so stretched there will be very inexperienced officers there.

“You can’t just rely on the experienced ones, you have to take the inexperienced ones as well. It is a real worry because we obviously don’t want any of our officers to get injured or face any real disorder, but it’s hard without that experience and being able to read a situation.”

She added that the issue hadn’t come as a surprise to the Federation, saying: “We all knew this was coming. We all knew this would be a problem. It’s all down to the Government not funding police officers appropriately over the previous 10 years. We had one year where we recruited something like 50 officers, then this year we’re recruiting 500.

“In a few years’ time it’ll be fantastic, because all these officers will then have some experience. But we’ve just got to ride through the storm and hope that the quality of the PCs who have been employed have got that situational awareness you need as an officer.

“When we were learning, we were probably the only inexperienced officer among a group of experienced colleagues, so you could learn from them and they could keep an eye on you. The problem is now, they’re all going to be inexperienced, so there’s no one there with that experience that they can learn from.”

Zoe urged officers to look out for each other, and if they’re concerned about anything to speak to their line manager first, and their Federation rep if they need extra help.

Scroll to top