One in six police officers ‘planning to leave’ within two years - survey

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Almost 16%, one in six respondents to a the survey of more than 30,000 police personnel admitted they intend to depart their roles within the next two years.

Whilst seven per cent questioned plan to leave within the next two years, seven per cent felt valued in the police, but 8.6% are already looking for a new career.

Despite the extreme pressures the service is under, it is heartening that the majority of officers state they will still go the extra mile to protect the public from harm and that the police family is very much intact through the support officers provide each other.

PFEW chairman Steve White

The proportion was a slight increase on the same poll last year, when 14.6% said they intend to leave.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), which conducted the research, seized on its findings as evidence of the “parlous” state of morale across the police force.

Other findings from the poll include:

Just under one in two (49.5%) respondents intend to stay in the force until pension age.

More than 95% of those who are planning to leave cited “how the police as a whole are treated” as having an effect on their decision, while a similar proportion said their morale was a factor.

More than three quarters (79.4%) said their belief that there are better job opportunities outside the police had either some or a major effect on their decision, while 73% cited their workload and responsibilities as a factor.

Overall 70.2% of officers said their morale was low, compared to 59.1% in the previous survey in 2014.

Nearly six in 10 said they feel proud to be in the police and 53.1% said they are willing to “go the extra mile” for the service.

Just 7.2% said they believe they are fairly paid considering the “stresses and strains” of their job, while only one in 10 would recommend joining the police to others.

PFEW chairman Steve White said: “This survey provides extremely strong evidence of the parlous state of officers’ morale across the service.

“This should sound a warning to those who run the service all the way from the Home Office to the College of Policing to the chief officers whose job it is to lead forces through what is an incredibly difficult time for all those in policing.

“Despite the extreme pressures the service is under, it is heartening that the majority of officers state they will still go the extra mile to protect the public from harm and that the police family is very much intact through the support officers provide each other.

“It is imperative that the service works together to mitigate the impact of the budget cuts and to maintain and continue to improve what is the widely recognised as the best police service in the world.”

The research comes at a time of strained relations between the Government and rank-and-file officers.

Earlier this year, Home Secretary Theresa May and the PFEW squared off for the second year running at the organisation’s annual conference.

Mrs May accused the federation of “crying wolf” and “scaremongering” over the impact of austerity as she launched an uncompromising response to claims that cuts have left forces “stretched to the limit”.

A total of 32,598 officers responded to the survey, which the PFEW said represents a response rate of 28% of its total membership. The organisation represents ranks from Pc up to chief inspector.