Last updated on August 14th, 2023 at 04:53 pmReading Time: 4 minutes
18 months ago, spurred on by an article by Ian Wiggett that highlighted record numbers of Voluntary Resignations, I wrote The Ever-Thinning Blue Line, and now I’m writing The Changing Shape of The Police Service Part II
Prior to that, no less an organisation than the Daily Mail, had published an article predicting that by 2023 a third of officers would have less than 3 years service
Well, we’re nearly there, so are these predictions in danger of coming true?
In March 2020 the Police Service looked like this.
I then applied an estimate (only my opinion) as to what the Police Service MIGHT look like by 2025
So, what does it look like now? And what percentage DO have less than 5 years service?
My, my, Fig 3 is not terribly different to what I predicted in Fig 2. Note the huge trough between 5 and 20 years service. Another astounding coincidence is that, with a whole year left to go, 32% of officers do have less than five years service. Almost one third, and a whole year earlier than The Daily Mail predicted.
With this is mind I took a closer look at officers with 5-9, 10-15 and 16-20 years service to see if there was any kind of pattern.
Three facts, which may or may not be significant, are immediately obvious. 1) Since 2015/16 the number of officers with 10-14 years service has reduced dramatically. 2) The number of officers with 15-19 years service has increased correspondingly (more or less) and 3) the number of officers with 10-20 years service remained relatively constant until 2019/20 and since then the overall number has decreased by almost 4,000. Astoundingly, the number of officers with 20-25 years service has remained almost constant.
The majority of officers in each band will naturally move from the band they are in to the next one assuming that they don’t resign, but to my mind that would mean that most bands remained more or less constant. Never 100% constant, but almost.
Is it too simplistic to assume that the majority of officers in the 10-15 year band, over a 5 year period, moved over into the 15-19 year band? In fact the increase in officers with 15-19 years service is almost exactly matched by the decline in officers with 10-14 years service. Then what happened behind them? Why aren’t they being backfilled from the 5-9 year band?
In about three months time the next set of data for March 2022 will be released by the Home Office and we will all be able to see whether this trend has continued, or whether it was a blip in a single year (my money is on the former).
Finally (almost) I took a look to see which Forces were losing the most and the least officers in the 10-15 and 16-20 year brackets. I won’t bother you with all of the 43, just the best 5 and the worst 5, but if your Force isn’t in either and you want to know the numbers, drop me an email and I can certainly let you know. I have concentrated solely on Voluntary Resignations for this comparison.
The only possible conclusion that I can draw at the moment is that the effects of the cuts carried out by Cameron/May/Winsor will be with us for a lot longer yet, but does anybody outide of Policing really care? At this precise moment the Police are constantly being vilified nd portrayed in the media as perverts, bullies, thieves and misogynists, when in reality that is only a very small fraction of the total (almost 140,000 at the end of last year), and most certainly doesn’t apply to all
As a result of this apparent pattern I have submitted a further request for numbers of Voluntary Resignations of officers with 5 to 10 years service. Realistically this will form Part III in a month or so.