Young-In-Service Officers More Likely To Be Assaulted

THE streets are becoming a dangerous place for young-in-service police officers, Hampshire Police Federation has warned.

Representatives and police leaders have been warning about a crisis in policing caused by experienced officers looking for work elsewhere.

Zoë Wakefield, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, explained: “Experience counts for a lot in policing. Out on the streets, you learn to read people’s body language, you learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you in dealing with violent situations; all the catalogue of incidents you go to over the years builds up that experience.

“The more mental health incidents you go to, the more you learn about how people can and might – or might not – behave. There’s just so much that you learn that other people just won’t have and I think it puts officers at risk.

“It’s proven, definitely within Hampshire, that those younger in service are more likely to be assaulted, just because you don’t have that experience dealing with those violent situations.

“You can’t teach policing in a classroom, so all those new recruits who have only been taught in a classroom, they’re policing based on what they’ve learned in the classroom, not based on what they have experienced out on the streets.”

Years of below-inflation pay rises, coupled with the degradation of pensions, has meant that fewer officers are staying in the service, and those that do stay, don’t stay as long.

An official pay board submission from the National Police Chiefs’ Council warned that a third of officers currently have less than five years’ experience, while a rising number are leaving for the private sector.

Zoë added: “I spoke to an officer recently who said, ‘I still love policing, but at some point I’ve got to put my family first’. He said they’re struggling so much financially, knowing that he can earn more outside of policing.

“People are getting to the point where they don’t feel they have a choice, they’re going to have to leave. The simple answer is give us a decent pay rise.”

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