Most officers 'considering leaving' in wake of police reforms
Most rank-and-file officers are considering leaving the service in the wake of the most radical reforms of policing in more than 30 years, a survey has showed.
Wide-ranging changes to force pay, conditions and recruitment under a controversial review by Tom Winsor, now the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, have left officers facing uncertainty over their future, researchers found.
More than half (51%) of the officers surveyed said they “would consider looking for alternative employment” and 95% said they had no confidence in the long-term government plans for the police.
Some 1,400 officers from the Avon and Somerset force were polled by researchers from the University of the West of England (UWE) before work begins on a national survey of the challenges faced by members of the 43 forces across England and Wales.
Dr James Hoggett, who is leading the research, said: “The study showed that proposed changes and those currently being implemented are causing significant levels of uncertainty and concern amongst officers on the ground.
“Officers clearly accept the need for change, but believe it should be without political interference and should involve the police service itself.”
He added: “For the vast majority, being a police officer is a fundamental part of their self-concept - who they are - and they are therefore willing to make sacrifices
to be police officers.”
But force budget cuts along with changes to pensions, retirement age and privatisation were all “threatening this perceived concept of goodwill” in which officers make
personal sacrifices and work beyond what is required of them, the study commissioned by the Police Federation’s constables central committee warned.
Among other policing reforms being ushered through by the Home Office are plans to cut annual pay for new police constables by £4,000 to £19,000.
A fast-track scheme aimed at both university graduates and serving officers will allow constables to rise to the rank of inspector in just three years, while foreign candidates
will be able to apply for chief constable roles for the first time.