I suppose I’m writing this as a kind of therapy to myself. I’m a Cop in a County Constabulary not far from London. We’re a smallish force and quickly getting smaller.
I’m a mid thirties guy with two small kiddies and a wife. I’m considered reasonably young in service with around three years; joining the job late in life because it took 4 yrs due to First recruitment freeze with the Met in 2008 and as a result of transferring out. I stomached the pay cut, my wife stomached me staying away as did my young boys. The family has stomached me working nights, Xmas, birthdays, rest days, called in short notice for deployment, finishing late, missing school plays, missing wife’s birthday, missing funerals, weddings and get-togethers.
Despite all of this, I enjoy my job and love working with my brothers and sisters on the thinner than ever blue line; the closet friends you could ever have, the best friends you could ever ask for too.
I have however, just resigned from the Office of Constable as I feel that the sacrifice that we all make as Officers doesn’t offset the return.
I’ll explain what I mean.
These days – due to Winsor – a Probationer Police Constable starts on £21k per annum (luckily I started before this.) This disgusts me, a Probie is exposed to the same risks, dangers, marital and health problems we all are exposed to. A Probie will probably be working harder for a result than any substantive PC who knows the quickest route round most jobs. A Probie will also be under a lot more pressure than a substantive PC because he/she will want to get it right, not let down his/her established shift that they’ve just joined. There’s a chap on my shift who works so hard with under a years service and yet he’s paid less than most regular ‘safer’ jobs. To me it’s wrong, but he’s incredibly proud to be in the Police, as we all are.
We have just been made aware of another load of cuts mounting to 20% of our budget. My Constabulary has identified the partial amount, from where I don’t know. There is an outstanding deficit of approx £7 million that is yet to be realised and ascertained as to where that will come from. I am told it won’t affect the front line ? Really ? Let’s be honest here, there’s only so much fat you can skim from the top before you ruin the good stuff underneath. You can’t stretch the stretched beyond the limit otherwise it will snap.
I am told that with the cuts that are made there are an army of Specials and Volunteers to take up posts. Well let me tell these people this, coming from an ex Special: Good luck! What you do is honourable within your spare time, and you should be paid something for sure. But please don’t think for one minute that what you do is anything like a regular Police Constable. The pressures of a workload, cuts, staff shortages, lack of family time, health etc etc will be spared from you. If you go on to eventually join the Job you will soon realise what I mean. Having said that, your time is really appreciated by your regular colleagues and very welcome.
Despite what the media say about the Police and despite what the Public believe, we are the most amazing group of professionals. Our work ethic, morals, motivation and skills are second to none, we really are a credit to the UK. I wish that this was realised and promoted more. I’m incredibly proud to put on my uniform, pull on my stabby, kit up with my PPE, grab a set of keys and go out to patrol. I love nicking people that need to be nicked and making the problem leave in a set of cuffs. I’m not so keen on Facebook jobs and diary appointments for dogs that have barked too loud or shit on the wrong spot but nevertheless I am a very proud PC.
I joined with a view to move up the ranks – a job for life and for amazing experiences. I have had amazing experiences and I’ve had awful, awful ones.
Why am I going?
Simply put, there’s no incentive for me to stay. I worry about the cuts to us all, I worry the Government isn’t straight with is and does not support us enough. The Government doesn’t understand the role and they don’t understand us. There is no opportunity for promotion any time soon. Our workloads will be increasing with ever more station closures and natural wastage. The Job will become more dangerous due to lack of staff and supporting skilled specialists. To give you an example, we share our helicopter with another 4 or 5 forces now and often there is only one dog unit in the county. This is incredibly frustrating when these are two of the most useful tools on a night shift when there’s a burglary in progress or an escaping dangerous offender.
The pension, although still fairly decent, I don’t pay into anymore – because I can’t afford to. I need the £300+ a week that it costs me now rather than later.
My Children miss me, as does my wife (sometimes) and I really miss them all. The sacrifices i make for the job don’t outweigh the fact I miss their development and special moments. It’s just not worth doing. The Job is not designed for a chap/chapess at my stage of life, with my aspirations anymore. Shame really because we add some good life experience to the pot.
I’m going back to Private Sector. I have luckily got a really good job – Monday to Friday – with some really good benefits and a far better basic wage.
I’m so sorry that it’s come to this, it’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Leaving a job I love because I know that it’s going to be a long time before any real improvement and at the same time my kiddies are getting older and I’m missing out on more.
I know I’ve made the right decision but it’s been bloody hard and I’m very sad about it.
Take care colleagues, stay safe, you’re all brilliant.”