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UK faces policing crisis as cops quit in huge numbers

Law enforcement chiefs in Britain are struggling to find enough specialist detectives with three-quarters of stations admitting that they cannot fill vacancies because of the rate at which experienced officers are quitting the force.

Published: February 19, 2019, 8:48 am

    The worrying numbers are detailed in official data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), showing how experienced officers are leaving while violent crime continues to escalate. Some 2 400 have left their jobs since April 2018.

    The documents were submitted to the Police Remuneration Review Body. In 16 of England and Wales’ 43 police forces – some of the largest forces in the UK – recruitment targets were missed by more than 25 percent.

    Warwickshire missed its target by a staggering 75 percent, while West Yorkshire and Merseyside also experienced almost similar difficulties.

    Che Donald, of the Police Federation, explained that police officers were experiencing high levels of stress. “They are leaving because of the huge stresses they are under. They feel they are not being looked after and say, ‘I can get a less stressful job with a better home-life balance and more money elsewhere’.”

    But according to the NPCC: “Most have no trouble attracting initial applicants but, in some cases, the conversion rate is low. This suggests the calibre of applicants may not be of the quality required or there are potential issues with the recruitment process that lead to high attrition.

    “The main reasons given for recruitment failures were personal reasons, change of mind and finding alternative employment. Discussions with newer recruits in focus groups suggest the length of time for the recruitment process to be completed may have a significant effect.”

    The report also noted that “2 424 officers voluntarily left the service [not including retirees] prior to completing their full potential pensionable service this year. This is up as 2 044 officers voluntarily left the service last year”.

    At least 711 officers quit the Metropolitan Police, 142 left Thames Valley Police and 112 resigned from the West Midlands Police.

    Home Affairs Committee representative Tim Loughton, told the Daily Express: “At a time when most forces are recruiting additional officers to restore numbers we previously saw, it is a false economy if we are not doing more to retain experienced officers to deal with increasingly complex crimes.”

    In a resignation letter made public by one of the poster girls for the police force, Laura Beal, she said: “Staff are not coping and are suffering because there is no one looking out for them.

    “Please take it from someone who has been personally affected and has been so low she has wondered what the point of it all is and only through her friends and family been able to see that there is more to life than policing.

    “Front-line response is where you need to focus your time and money. This is where the buck stops.”

    Beal denounced the lack of support from her superiors: “I could see the job I loved and the people I respect get ruined because of an organisation that puts its employees last.”

    But Cressida Dick, the Met Police commissioner, has blamed Sajid Javid, Britain’s Muslim Home Secretary, for his racial and gender obsession. She said the police’s priority has to be violent crime, not hate crime.

    Britain’s most senior police officer warned that expanding hate crimes to include misogyny as well as racism, risked diverting officers from fighting violent crime.

    “My officers are very busy, they are very stretched. We have young people in London subject to gang violence, getting involved in drug dealing, stabbings, lots and lots of priorities,” Dick said. “My focus is on violent crime. Every single one is ghastly when we have teenagers stabbed. In London I’m glad to say that the figures have stopped going up and up as they have in the last three to four years. They have plateaued and I’m going to keep driving it down.”

    The Telegraph reported that Britain has become a “wild west” with violence in cities spiking as even young children now carry knives. According to Dick, there had been a “worrying change in society”. But she did not directly link the spike in violent crime to immigration. Instead Dick blamed “drugs”.

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