Thousands Of Recruits Leave During Probation Period

The stress of doing a policing degree while learning on the job has taken its toll on new recruits, South Yorkshire Police Federation has said, as it emerged that since 2019, almost 4,500 officers nationally have left during their probation period.

The figures were collected by radio station LBC, which found that the entry pathway that resulted in the most officers leaving (1,381) was the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.

Steve Kent, Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “In South Yorkshire, our figures of retention are a bit above average, but we’re still losing officers, as is everybody else.

“I think people sometimes join the police not necessarily realising what the job entails. They are often also struggling with the academic side of the policing degree, and the pressures that that adds. It’s like you’ve got to split your brain in two and deal with the on-the-job learning as well as doing a degree in the background, which for some people is a challenge.

“As a Federation, we support a mixed entry system, and we continue to do so because there are some people who would make great cops but who are not necessarily academic.”

Steve continued: “I also think people are sadly realising there’s a lot of stress in policing – it’s a challenging role that isn’t particularly well remunerated. You’re always going to have retention issues, but we’ve got to really keep an eye on this because it could start to undo the work done by the uplift, and we could be left in a position where we have fewer officers again.

“We need to attract the right people into policing. We need to make policing attractive. It’s always going to be challenging – no one expects to come into the police and have an easy ride – but it should be something that people are motivated to do and are paid fairly to do.”