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'Concern' across policing over Uplift retention rates

Fresh concerns have been raised across policing over recruitment and retention.

The Police Federation led calls for a rethink of training and support for new officers after our investigation revealed more than 2,500 new officers have already quit and some forces were shown to have attrition rates approaching 20%.

The Fed described the data as “concerning” and called for a “greater focus on retaining new recruits” following our publication of National Police Chief’s Council figures on probation attrition statistics.

A PFEW spokesperson said: “Although the data shows significant variations in attrition rates across forces, it is concerning to see some have reached double figures. From day one we have said retention is as vital as recruitment.

“The starting salary for many officers in their first year of undertaking a police constable degree apprenticeship is £19,164 which is barely above the current national living wage - which is set to increase in April.

“Additionally, more than one in 10 police officers told us in our most recent survey they are not or almost never able to cover their monthly essentials, while almost half said their pay increased their intention to leave the force.”

The Fed wasn’t alone in questioning why new officers are leaving – and many joined the debate on social media triggered by the Police Oracle story.

An ambulance worker warned the starting pay rates for joiners are now comparable with supermarkets – and they offer benefits including staff discounts as well as a much lower risk of physical injury.

One serving officer added: “The volume of academic work expected in own time further dilutes the hourly rate. For those with families I can see this being an extremely difficult situation.”

And a further sign of problems came from a staff member at a force: "Try being Police staff too, poor pay, poor management, no potential for promotion. Workload increasing. Treated like an officer for policy reasons but only when it suits. I’ll be off at the first opportunity."

Surrey’s former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner – and former officer - Jeff Harris said current recruitment policies weren’t helping.

He told Police Oracle: “I do a bit of development coaching of people coming out of policing and the military. An example is someone who has been in the military for years. They are told ‘oh you can join the police but because you haven’t got a degree you’ve got to start as an apprentice,’ which is absolutely stark bonkers.” 

Mr Harris warned the combination of a lack of confidence, incident trauma and study pressures were creating a toxic mix: “If they’ve got other things on their mind, a traumatic incident or they’ve just been assaulted or something, the last thing they’re going to do is sit down and study.”

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