Policing Experience – Is There Another Crisis Waiting To Happen?

We’ve heard plenty about #CrisisInPolicing and I’m not going to convince you that there isn’t one. I have said before that there is, caused directly and personally by David Camoron and Theresa May. They were both arrogant and refused to listen to those who knew what they were talking about. Instead they preferred to accuse their critics of ‘Crying Wolf’. It’s obviously one of The Tories’ favourite sayings, only days ago Jacob Rees-Mogg accused the Remain supporting MPs of ‘Crying Wolf’.

The Tory #Cuts have left their mark, but does anybody really know what they look like? 31st March 2012 saw 136,339 oficers. I have studied the Length of Service of officers in all 43 Forces in England & Wales (NOT BTP) and the length of service in 2012 looked like this:-

A good wedge of experience in the 5-10 year service band and the remainder, more or less, even, albeit with fewer officers in each band. It makes Future Planning much more simple when the bands are roughly equal in size, Natural Wastage at the latter stages being compensated by Recruitment at the other end.

Fast Forward to 2019, what does the Service look like now?

The total number at 31st March 2019 has reduced to 125,114. The 5-10 year band is much smaller, there are way more officers with 5 years or less service and the 10-15 and 15-20 year bands have closed up and got bigger. At first glance this looks good, but what happens in 15-20 years time when the 10-20 year officers of today have retired or will soon do so?

Is this another crisis lurking, waiting to hit us when it’s too late to do anything about it? It might be easier to work out if I superimpose one set of data on the other, that shows some stark differences.

Just take a look at the 5-10 year service point. 24,000 fewer officers. More than the total of the Tory cuts. 10,000 more in the 15-20 year bracket, so a short-term gain there. From 20 years onward the downward curves more or less tally with other. BUT the huge difference at the 5-10 year mark MUST be making a difference NOW, possibly with Response and SNTs, probably less so with specialist postings, but does not bode well for the next 20 years or so, to whatever the government decide will be the appropriate time/age to hang up your boots.

Is there a further crisis coming? Yes, I certainly think so. Boris’s 20,000 will be nowhere near enough, and besides, 20,000 new recruits do not fill the experience gap.

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2 comments on “Policing Experience – Is There Another Crisis Waiting To Happen?

  1. I posted a reply to this however trying to watch a baseball game and doing this at the same time caused me to post it under the post “Open Letter to the PCC for West Mercia. I spout off about something in another country, then screw it all up. Could this be fixed? I hope so. Apologies to everyone.

    • Original response from JE Coulter, originally posted elsewhere

      I hate to impose in the business of another nation. I’m afraid it will be taken the wrong way but I bleed blue. I won’t opine decisions made but I just wanted to concur with your statements. I took several college classes while I was in the USAF and in one in particular (I recall from 23 years ago). From 0-4 years you really don’t have a total knowledge of the job. From 04-06 years you have the knowledge and enter the “Rambo” stage where you’re likely to abuse people verbally or physically and develop bad stress management methods (I did). From 06-15 years (if you don’t get fired or prosecuted for all the ignorance earlier) you’re know at the peak of your effectiveness. You can handle anything thrown at you IF you were attentive and effective from 0-6 years. From 15-20 years you’re a mentor, if you’ve been effective thus far leadership should develop your ability to train or supervise but you’ve reached the limit of caring about people in general, you really only care about your own kind. Past twenty years you supervise and become increasingly bitter and basically make as far as your body and mind will take you.

      Years later I heard the same thing in supervisor development training, this time it came from a 28 year Trooper who was teaching the class. He learned from watching and learning for 28 years.

      Police work is such a unique job that simply putting a body in a uniform will not work. To begin with throwing those youngsters out to the wolves will result in resignations galore and departments won’t get through the lean years waiting for them to develop because there won’t be enough who get through the 0-6 period. I believe it will be worse than you predict due to this. It seems no one understands the HUMAN element of this job anymore.

      In so many ways my former department is in the same boat which is why all of this stuff was at the top of my mind. Former colleagues have been crying the blues to me so all of this was relevant across the Atlantic and into the coal fields of West Virginia.

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