22bongo

Thinking of leaving...Advice?

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Hi all,

         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.

 

Cheers all

 

 

 

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All the things you have listed are things I think you will find most of us sympathise with you about. Having worked a few more years than you and been around the different depts I can confirm there is sadly still more out there to be frustrated about that you have not experienced yet.

HMG is running us into the ground- they want rid of us in order to privatise what we do. You are experiencing the death grip of them choking us to death.

As to leaving, it's each officers personal choice. Had I 5 years in I think i would leave if I was offered a decent wage in an industry that wasn't being done away with. I think being a front line police officer until your 60s will kill you before you see any of the huge amount of cash you are paying into your pension.

Yes we feel it but many of us have been in many years and can go after 30- if I was in your position I would be looking at different choices.

While you stay however remember - we do this for the public- Just because those in HMG have no souls doesn't mean we don't .

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What you are experiencing is 'the perfect storm'.

First and foremost, the 'honeymoon' period is over. The 'wow, I made it as a Police officer' has been replaced with 'why did I make it as a Police officer?'.

You have also realised that far from being a pillar of the community, you are seen as a crutch by those that won't support themselves, and a litigation backstop by those that lead you.

Your eyes will have been opened to just how futile it can be, but made worse by realising just how important it all is, and how fighting the organisation is often harder than fighting the drunks.

The rewards you expected will have failed to materialise, while you will have been blindsided by demands you couldn't possibly have predicted.

You will have been stabbed in the back by those you didn't expect, and received support from those you didn't think you could trust.

You will have been stereotyped, pilloried, castigated, put down and abused by the press and the media, and then told you are held to a higher standard and have no right to defend yourself.

You will have driven to work dreading what lies ahead, gone to situations where you dread the outcome but still you turn up the next day.

You will have sacrificed bodily and mental health for those who cannot be bothered to ensure you have sufficient water or a decent meal.

You will have sacrificed precious time with your family, time that you can never recover, in exchange for a monthly pay packet under constant attack by those that govern us such that you begin to ask 'is it all worthwhile?'

In short, it's all caught up with you. All the demands, all the doubt, all the frustration.

Your decision has to be yours. I don't hate being a Police officer, but neither do I love it. It's just a job.

I didn't join to do 'just a job' I joined to make a difference and enjoy a long, demanding, rewarding, career.

Sometimes fantasy and reality make uneasy bedfellows.

Personally speaking, I am here for the long haul for three reasons; having joined later in life my 'long haul' is shorter for me than for others, I have an employment stability often denied me outside of the Police and most importantly, I live in hope that the pendulum will again swing back to what I know the role can be, a rewarding, fascinating, demanding, well respected, profession.

Your way of coping, or of deciding, will have to be your own, I am afraid. Don't rush into anything and whatever you decide always remember the good, repress the bad and take pride that you were one of the good guys!

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On the plus side, you are not locked in, with only 5 years service you are not in the pension trap...

Things are only going to get worse in terms of austerity, staff levels etc etc as we now know austerity is locked in until 2020. The Tories originally said they'd have us squared away by 2015, so they were only 5 years out...

As a minimum you sound burned out, possibly even depressed and / or anxious. Time perhaps to take a step back, go sick, clear your head and make a sound decision in a few months once your head is clear.

Your next move will define the rest of your working life - you can't take such an important decision when you are too close to things.

And I agree - whatever the history, whatever the past, whatever anyone else will tell you, it is now just a job, and not a very appealing one.

Step back, calm it down, seek advice, consider all options and then ACT.

Occ Health is there to help, as is your GP and if things are REALLY desperate the fed too....

Good luck

Edited by Picard999
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People call the police over Facebook arguments? :angry: Unfoxtroting believable. :(

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People call the police over Facebook arguments? :angry: Unfoxtroting believable. :(

A lot of local policing units have a 'dedicated Facebook car' - ie it is ALL they deal with....

Sign of the times...

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I've transferred forces for different reasons than you, but anticipated that my new force would be much better and the grass would be much greener. It wasn't - the job is the same wherever you go, just different names on the charge sheet.

 

I'm close to retirement now but with 5 years service in and the changes that have taken place, and those that are undoubtably coming I may be thinking the same as you. 

 

I too donated bone marrow some years ago. My force could not have done better....they were brilliant and allowed me time off as "special leave" and allowed me time off when I had the injections to boost my bone marrow prior to donation. The injections were fine, but the pain was pretty bad as an after effect. I'm appalled at the attitude of employers who can't afford to give time off to anyone willing to go through this procedure. As a side note, I received a letter from the person who I donated to. I've read that letter many, many times and it brings me to tears each time, as they described the joy of being able to live long enough to see their grandchildren start school.

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Hi

A slightly different perspective. First of all, despite some posters trying to make this thread into another political anti-Tory diatribe, this has nothing to do with that. It has nothing to do with austerity or anything connected with that. Quite apart from anything else you are describing a situation in 2009 - austerity hadn't started then.

It sounds like your expectations are simply too high. This is the reality of police work, it's hard work, often unrewarding and it just doesn't run smoothly. The cars are knackered because people don't look after them, but then they we knackered when I joined.

If you want to get away from dealing with petty crime, then you need to do another role that doesn't deal with petty crime. Response teams, as in the name, obviously respond to everything but the plain statistics are that you are more likely to deal with low level stuff than serious stuff. The serious stuff is generally investigated by specialist units, depending on the force.

You can try another unit and see if that offers you what you crave. If you don't like that then it may well be that it's not the job for you and that maybe leaving is your best option. Nothing wrong with that.

Personally I still really enjoy the job after nearly 28 years, and I'll be very sad to leave - warts and all. I'm a DS and I've always tried to move around so have never really got fed up. The point is that it doesn't have to be as you describe - it's very much what you make it. It's still an excellent job, can be intensely rewarding. If it was intensely rewarding every minute of the day it would become dull. When it happens every so often you appreciate it more. Policing hasn't really changed in my service - shift patterns, cars and IT have changed but the people and the crimes they commit are generally the same. I appreciate that Facebook and things add a new dimension, but it's still the same argument, just in a different format.

I wouldn't advise going sick just because you are fed up. Too many people go sick at the drop of a hat these days, it seems to be the answer to everything. If you are actually sick then fine.

As someone else says, it's your decision what to do. Just don't necessarily assume that the problem lies with the Job - there are plenty of people who enjoy it; it may well be that the problem lies with you and I don't mean that in a negative way.

Good luck.

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Threads like this crop up from time to time, and my answer is always the same.

I had exactly the same doubts as you at around the five year mark and my BIGGEST regret in life is that I ignored them. How I wish someone had given me similar advice to that of Picard, to take stock, consider my options and then act.

Instead I chose to pursue my chosen dream specialism. I got there, am still there many years later, and can tell you with absolute certainty that it does not solve anything. I still hate the organisation, still want out and live daily for the day I can retire. The frustrations are just as great even if you specialise.

I have over 23 years in now, and as I approach retirement I have a depressing sense that I have spent my entire working life under achieving. Sure, I have impacted on the lives of many in a positive way, but the impact on my own life is negative. And I hate myself for it.

I have been promotion qualified for nearly six years with no more chance of rising through the ranks now than when I first opened my crammer books all those years ago. And the ultimate frustration for me is that I work for an obnoxious, selfish Inspector who looks down his nose at me, and I know that I could make a far better fist of his job than he does.

I'm never going to get there and the saddest thing is that I no longer care.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Hi

A slightly different perspective. First of all, despite some posters trying to make this thread into another political anti-Tory diatribe, this has nothing to do with that. It has nothing to do with austerity or anything connected with that. Quite apart from anything else you are describing a situation in 2009 - austerity hadn't started then.

It sounds like your expectations are simply too high. This is the reality of police work, it's hard work, often unrewarding and it just doesn't run smoothly. The cars are knackered because people don't look after them, but then they we knackered when I joined.

If you want to get away from dealing with petty crime, then you need to do another role that doesn't deal with petty crime. Response teams, as in the name, obviously respond to everything but the plain statistics are that you are more likely to deal with low level stuff than serious stuff. The serious stuff is generally investigated by specialist units, depending on the force.

You can try another unit and see if that offers you what you crave. If you don't like that then it may well be that it's not the job for you and that maybe leaving is your best option. Nothing wrong with that.

Personally I still really enjoy the job after nearly 28 years, and I'll be very sad to leave - warts and all. I'm a DS and I've always tried to move around so have never really got fed up. The point is that it doesn't have to be as you describe - it's very much what you make it. It's still an excellent job, can be intensely rewarding. If it was intensely rewarding every minute of the day it would become dull. When it happens every so often you appreciate it more. Policing hasn't really changed in my service - shift patterns, cars and IT have changed but the people and the crimes they commit are generally the same. I appreciate that Facebook and things add a new dimension, but it's still the same argument, just in a different format.

I wouldn't advise going sick just because you are fed up. Too many people go sick at the drop of a hat these days, it seems to be the answer to everything. If you are actually sick then fine.

As someone else says, it's your decision what to do. Just don't necessarily assume that the problem lies with the Job - there are plenty of people who enjoy it; it may well be that the problem lies with you and I don't mean that in a negative way.

Good luck.

Cheese, your attitude is 100% spot on and how I aspire to be.

But, are you honestly telling us that your morale haven't been affected by how we have been treated over the last few years?

Edited by Dem

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22Bongo, I do feel for you, I believe that you are trying to Police with your heart, and are expecting too much from this crap job that we do. Instead you should go to work, get the weariest shop lifter, and do a great job of fully investigating it, then go home and completely forget about the job until you go back in.

Do that every day,and the years will fly by.

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If the job makes you feel down then leave. Life it too short. 

 

If you find it semi palatable then hang on and see if it improves. Having said that don't hold your breath. 

 

Easy for me to say as I have 11 months to go and there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. 

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I don't think your expectations are too high '22'. Recent governments have destroyed the service and especially the latest one, who clearly detest us and have used their friends in the media (DM anyone?) to turn a lot of public opinion against us too. My advice? Go while you're still young in service; we are just another job now and things will only get worse.  All I ever meet is officers who can't wait to leave, there's no pride in serving for 30 years, which is sad. Don't be one of them. 

Edited by careerlid
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Sadly Senior Mangement have never Police the streets as you have had to. Response is the s**t end of the stick where you dash to everyhting, and achieve nothing as you have another 3 or 4 jobs waiting for your attendance.

 

I do not agree that going sick is not an option. See your doctor because the symptoms you describe sound like deression. Her may even recommend a period of convalescence to recharge your batteries and the Police Convalescent homes are second to none and the up side is there is no rank there to grind you down.

 

The most important thing is, that you have to do what is right for you, and no one else.  I do not know how old you are, but many years ago I considered Australia. After completing 30 years my wife and I look back and feel that we both missed the opportunity.

 

Whatever you do, do not make a decision in haste, and good luck to you and I hope that everything goes ok for you. 

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