To Join Or Not To Join?

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To join or not to join?  To leave or not to leave? Those are the questions.

It may come as no surprise to you to hear that I’m not really a fan of the Police Uplift Programme, I have written more than enough about it already, however, today I am tempted just a little bit more.

Hidden amongst an absolute flood of emails from the Home Office this morning was this beauty, updating a report first published in February that completely passed me by back then.

Police Uplift Programme New Recruits Onboarding Survey 2023

Skipping straight to Part III, Headline Findings, it says this

The PUP New Recruits Onboarding Survey (2023) found that the overall picture is positive with high satisfaction and strong intentions to remain within policing. More than 8 in 10 new officers are satisfied with the role and the support they receive from their line managers, and more than 7 in 10 indicate that the role has met or exceeded their expectations. There continues to be encouraging findings with regards to new officer retention, as more than 7 in 10 new officers indicate they intend to stay in the service until retirement or pension age.

Although to be fair, that is just the first paragraph, but it’s already claiming a far more positive programme than I have been reading about elsewhere.

I will leave you to read the entire survey results if you’ve still got the will, but I will highlight a few of the graphics that make me think that maybe that first paragraph doesn’t tell the whole story.

In no particular order (OK there is almost an order) the following charts from the survey results grabbed ny attention (there are several others).

  • General satisfaction with the Police Service
  • To join or not to join?
    Fig 1

    It would seem that most are satisfied with their experience.

  • Then we have the breakdown of which sections of new recruits have the most satisfaction with Policing.
    satisfaction 2
    Fig 2

    It all looks quite good at first glance, but when you get to the bottom of the chart it is apparent that satisfaction dwindles with more service, going down markedly between those with less than 6 months serice to those with over 12 months service.  They don’t appear to give that much publicity.

  • Next comes the intentions of the new recruits
    Fig 3

    Once again a healthy majority declare an intention to remain in Policing long term.

  • However, once again, the diffferent sections of recruits possibly see life differently.
    intentions 2
    Fig 4

    Once again recruits’ desire to remain in Policing dwindles a bit over time.

  • Following on from that we have the variety of reasons given for NOT intending to remain Full Time.  In my view this is a vitally important element of the report and should be seriously considered by the College and NPCC.
    To Join Or Not To Join?
    Fig 5

    This one is self explanatory really and maybe none of us is really very surprised.

  • Next we can see the various reasons that recruits gave for joining the Police in the first place.
    To Join Or Not To Join?
    Fig 6

    Again, self-explanatory. Finally, for me, the percentage of reruits that feel that Policing is having an impact on their lives.

  • To Join Or Not To Join?
    Fig 7

    Once again, disatisfaction grows with (relatively) short length of service, and certainly long before the end of probation.

There are numerous other ways of portraying the success, or not, of the PUP, if you feel the need you can sample many inside the full report, link above.  My personal take on it is, that the Home Office are never going to see it as anything less than an unqualified success, and maybe I’m reading the charts wrong, but to me it is tending to indicate increased levels of disatisfaction amongst recruits, long befere they complete their probation.  Surely that is not indicative of a happy and efficient workforce?  The Home Office (whoever is in charge today) will undoubtedly see it differently to me.

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