July 19th, 2008

Experience

Posted in The Job - General by 200

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.

 

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4 comments

  1. Altercation says:

    Do you think Edmund-Davies has anything to do with this? What I mean is that it’s 30 years since the pay increase that attracted loads of officers and now they’re all retired or nearly retired?

    July 20th, 2008 at 05:15

  2. Tony F says:

    It’s funny, but in the armed services, similar things are occurring. About the time I left, after doing 22, the quality of the new intakes were not as good as they were. Yes, they may be qualified when leaving school and trade training, but there was something missing. I also noticed, that many people after a few years in, and getting further qualifications (OU etc) were leaving early. And I have to say, the ones left behind were either bright enough to realise that they were not bright enough to get an equivalent job outside. Or promoted above their level of competence and were hanging on for their pension. Or finally actually liked the job, put up with the nonsense until kicked out at 22 because you were not promoted. I never wanted to be a SNCO, I hate paperwork. Also, in the RAF at that time, SNCOs did not usually do the job, they were always tied up with admin and all the ancillary things required to keep all the balls (and aeroplanes) in the air. This did create some friction as it ended up with senior Cpls not only having to do the normal menial and technical things, we also had to do the SNCO’s trade functions too. Without the pay. But with the responsibility if anything went wrong. I hasten to add, it was not the SNCO’s fault in any way. Just all the cut backs, trying to fulfil too many roles with too few aircraft and troops. How we never had any serious accidents I do not know, there were a couple of ‘nearlys’ and I suspect things are worse now.

    July 20th, 2008 at 13:33

  3. XTP says:

    I’ve absolutely no idea how it happened either. On my team, if you include me and the other 2 long service bods the average, on a team of 17, is 8 years. Take us away and it’s 2.5! Sobering.

    July 20th, 2008 at 19:20

  4. Plodnomore says:

    The periods of “change” are around the figure 14. After 14 weeks you feel as though you’re starting to be a proper police officer (despite the paperwork); After 14 months, the shine is starting to peel off and you feel as if you’re going to be a probationer for ever; After 14 years (if you have decided to be a professional Constable and not go for promotion) you realise that you still love the job but the shite from the SMT is getting you down, the attitude of the local sh*ts is getting you down and you find it hard to bounce back up so quickly when you get knocked down so the temptation to go for a vacancy in an office is sooooooo appealing. Perhaps foolishly, I kept working on the front line until I retired (2 arrests and an assault on me on my last day!) and ended up with a disability pension as well as my Police one. However, I joined the Police in the days when you were accepted if you had two arms and legs, could write your name and you hadn’t escaped from Bedlam. It appears the current crop of recruits are better educated, have higher expectations and, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, go for promotion as quickly as they can. To be honest, you can’t blame them for that but it does leave the front line very vulnerable.

    July 20th, 2008 at 20:32

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