I worked on my own again this week. It’s got so I’m single crewed more than I’m double-crewed, as are my colleagues.
At the start of every shift I make a list of all the officers I have available. Just out of interest I checked out the dates they all joined. We had a sergeant & 8 PCs. The total service between them was 369 months or nearly 31 years, just a fraction over my total service. The average service between them is 41 months; less than 4 years.
The sergeant has a couple of months over 3 years.
Not many years ago I was on a shift where the average service was about 16 years, several of us had twenty plus, there were no probationers. This was quite unusual even then, it wasn’t that we were in any specialist role, we were front line shift, but we were somewhat remote from the rest with little supervision, so experienced officers were the norm.
Even when I was at one of the larger stations with a big shift, we had several officers who had ten to 15 years in the job. There were usually only one or 2 probationers out of 12. Now at least half of most shifts are probationers.
I’m not sure what this tells us about the demographics of the police service. I’ll hazard a guess though, that the job is so unattractive to those who have to do it that everyone wants out of it. There are so many opportunities not to do frontline policing & after a couple of years people just want the hell out. People want jobs with less stress, less hassle, where they don’t get pissed about, both by those within the job & those outside. They want to deal with interesting, worthwhile jobs & not the day-to-day shite that the government have forced upon us by making us investigate utter bloody tripe because a stat somewhere says it’s a crime.
I see officers as keen as mustard for 18 months or so who gradually have the enthusiasm sucked out of them until they become weary & uninterested. It saddens me, they have over 30 years to go.
Of course the other side is that everyone out there who deserves a decent service, they’re getting folk who haven’t learned their craft, who spend half the time on the radio getting advise from their supervisors or senior colleagues. Just when they start to excell in their trade, they move on.
There aren’t many winners really.