Majority of new recruits feel policing is still a job for life

12 April 2017

New officers have high hopes for the future

Four in five new recruits (83.3%) intend to stay in the police service until pension age, according to a survey carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

This result is markedly different from those shown by the PFEW’s Pay and Morale survey last year, in which 53.1%  of our existing members said they intended to stay with the service until retirement.

With more than half also reporting low morale and 69.9% saying they would not recommend a job as a police officer, this shows the strains that our longest serving members are facing.

These include the fall in officer numbers, poor welfare provisions, vital pieces of kit – such as Taser and Body-Worn Video – not being as widely available as officers would like and limited pay increases.

The new recruits, who joined the service between September 2016 and January 2017, cite a desire to ‘help improve people’s lives’ and ‘developing their skills’ as career priorities, along with having ‘a sense of security and stability in their role’.

The PFEW began regularly surveying new starters to the police force last September to find out their background, views and expectations for the job.

“It is reassuring to see such positivity from our newest officers – the challenge now is for the police service to nurture and support that enthusiasm,” said PFEW National Chair Steve White. “Following severe budget cuts and a loss of close to 20,000 officers in recent years, the service is stretched to the limit and our new officers are facing a very challenging working environment

“These new recruits are coming into forces expecting quality training, and pay that reflects the pressures and risks associated with being a police officer. As their Federation, we will be working hard to ensure that they are getting the pay and conditions they deserve for the service they provide.”  

Many of these new officers were not coming in blind to the role, with seven in ten (70.4%) having had prior policing experience, either as a Police Community Support Officer, a member of police staff or as a Special Constable.

This shows the resilience our under-pressure officers are showing in the face of the adversity, as their actions are still encouraging those working alongside them to follow them into the force.

The PFEW will continue to survey these new starters as they progress through their careers, as well as continuing to ask the same questions of new recruits as they join the force.