Im a serving PC with 5 years in, I was a special before for 2 years and I recently transferred out of a city force to a county force. Just after a bit of advice and for a place to discuss my thoughts on the job currently.
I know theres been a lot of very simiar posts so I hope this isnt another depressing read for everyone and will happily take any ideas/advice on board, Im on the verge of walking out the door with the police, Im in the process of looking for another job and taking an IT course next month as a start.
I began as a special in a county force in 07 whilst at college as literally just out of curiousity because I fancied some voluntary work and couldn't join the RNLI because I lived too far away. No family members have been in the police etc. Like most specials I got a real bug and absolutely loved every second, it was fun, I learned a lot of skills and techniques from people in the police and especially from regular PC's. Morale was good and being a PC was a very sought after thing for anybody, espcially specials. I finished college and joined as a regular in a city force in 09.
What I then experienced seemed to just go downhill from the start, tutorship was good due to a great sgt but then after our intake got moved around neighbourhood and town centre teams, only 4 months later to start on response when there was a space. Response seemed to be an absolute mess of a unit, 12 hour shift pattern with no crossover period so always off late, not enough broken down, knackered vehicles to go around, cheap useless kit, a massive amount of constant watches, crime scenes, hospital guards, front desk etc that need covering (not just me, a lot of new/non drivers used whenever needed), even when you would be out in a car, you would have little or no time to be proactive as you would be a slave to the control room to meet call times.
All these bits aside my main gripe was that what I hoped was going to be a fun, exciting, well worked streamline policing system was actually a very long, drawn out backwards set of procedures that were immensly frustrating. Endless pointless paperwork and reports to be filled out, paper statements that to do properly, can take ages, queuing for hours and hours in custody to book prisoners in only to be met by a sgt that doesnt want to be there, nearly any prisoner with an issue to be either put on a constant or HG, eventually going up and pleeding with the Case unit to take on your prisoner, any issues or items missing then it would be straight back to you to deal with, waiting hours for solicitors and then hours on the phone to CPS for a decision. A simple shoplifter could take all day.
I also found that I realised that what I was actually dealing with day in day out was virtually all absolute rubbish, facebook arguments, ridiculous petty assaults or thefts, drunken people that are treated as if they are cancer patients, faked mental health and welfare checks by the bucket load for people that have no self responsibilty. And a huge list of other calls that you know are made up just to use the police as leverage to get what they want. For every 1 good call you had 50 bad ones. Answering and working on britains culture of expectancy was absolutely infuriating.
Then all of that work for someone to get a pointless fine, a day served or the whole thing thrown out of court. A suspect spat in my face once and I was due to receive £50 compensation after a length court case on rest days. A few months passed with no word and I finally received a cheque for 86p. On questioning this with the courts they told me the suspect was paying five other victims through his benefits and this was what I was due to receive every month for the best part of 5 years. I told them not to insult me any further, give the payments to charity and I put the phone down
This I think was the turning point where I lost a lot of faith in the job and the policing system. Its incredibly difficult to do proper investigations and interviews and care about them when you know someone has made it up or it wont go anywhere or solve anything, naturally you just dont put any real passion or care into it and slowly officers just end up doing the minimum required because of this. Little miss miggins doesnt get burgled as often as I hoped, as strange as that sounds. And even if she did get burgled, the chance of you locking up that guy for a long time and serving justice is pretty remote.
On a positive note I was heavily involved in the Riots in 2011 which I am still very proud of. I still think of that as the pinnacle of my policing career and look at my commendation with a lot of pride and satisfaction. That was real policing and why I joined. I did a 27 hour shift on the Monday (8th of August) and would happily do it again tomorrow.
I moved to a private unit for 18 months after that which was for my personal life where it was a lot quieter and our work levels were low. I enjoyed this and then realised the reason I was enjoying it was because I wasnt actually doing much police work so I started to question whether a future in the police was for me. I thought about specilazing or promotion, but didnt believe that specialist units like firearms were supported in their use of force and their purpose and that promotion wasn't going to solve anything.
Then enters the budget/pension cuts/staff and resources cut/officers getting kicked out at the drop of hat or even put in prison for minor offences/low morale and all the other politics that we've discussed on here.
As a last ditch effort I transferred to a county force (different than the first force) last year, hoping the grass was greener. Where the force I work for now was a nice change to what I experienced before and a few of my desires have been answered (better vehicles/kit and courses), new ones have arose, staffing is ridiculously low which makes leave requests pointless and workloads are through the roof. I went to a 20 man fight the other day with just one other, nearest back up was 20 minutes away, whereas Ive seen and been in a lot worse in terms of incidents, this is just an example of how its impossible to do an effective job whilst there. This and the policing system as described above is exactly the same with the same frustrations, I sometimes wonder what job I was doing as a special all those years ago.
I also donated bone marrow for a cancer patient a few months ago which was wasn't supported. I had to take a period of unpaid leave leading up to it and returned to work just three days after the procedure because they wouldnt authorise any more unpaid leave due to staffing. I had the option of calling in sick but felt that I shouldnt have to take the hit for something as charitable and as noble as this. Ironic that I actually signed up for the bone marrow charity at a police function do. I did play rugby for my current force and hoped to have trials for the national police team but leave and time off for games isnt supported any more, so its annual or no game.
So here I am thinking enough is enough and that I honestly get very little enjoyment out of what I do. I always turn up for work, give my all and I believe Im a well respected officer who doesnt shy away from anything so what more can I ask from myself? My questions are that, is there anyone that has felt this way? Have you been in my position but change your thought process and things have worked out for the best? Or should I just cut my losses and leave while im young enough to learn another trade. Any advice comments you could give would be greatly appreciated
If you've made it to the bottom of this page, thank you very much for staying with it. Id also like to add that I hope I haven't offended anyone by what Ive said, If you are a serving PC, Its not my intention to insult or discredit what you may really enjoy, be very proud of and what you have worked incredibly hard to achieve over your years of service. Also if it is your asperation to join, please don't feel as if this is taking anything away from what you aspire to do.