'An officer's lot is harsh' says Yorkshire police boss as interest in joining force plummets

Regions served by Englands four biggest forces - London, West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire - have all seen major falls in the numbers searching for police jobs.
Regions served by Englands four biggest forces - London, West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire - have all seen major falls in the numbers searching for police jobs.
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A Yorkshire police boss has said figures revealing jobseeker interest in working for the police has plummeted shows the reality that 'an officer's lot is harsh'.

Brian Booth, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation said the figures were an indicator conditions had been tough for police for some time after figures revealed interest in working for the police has fallen across the country by a fifth in the last two years and plunged by a quarter in the last six months.

Regions served by England’s four biggest forces - London, West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire - have all seen major falls in the numbers searching for police jobs.

Indeed's job search data shows searches for police jobs with London dropping by 12.33 per cent over the past two years, the West Midlands down 27.1 per cent, Greater Manchester down by 6.15 per cent and West Yorkshire seeing a reduction of 7.06 per cent.

In addition, the latest official figures show police numbers have declined steadily since 2010. 2018 saw the lowest police officer levels since 1981, and although 766 officers have been added over the past 12 months, over the past decade the net drop in police numbers across England and Wales is 20,597.

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Mr Booth said a 20 per cent pay cut and "cruel cuts" to working terms and conditions over the last eight years are contributing factors to the decline.

He said: "This goes hand in hand with less colleagues to share the burden of work, increased police assaults with little support when it comes to sentencing offenders, IOPC investigations which can take years before officers are dealt with and the latest idea that all new officers must have a degree.

"The below report should be another red flag that it may be difficult to recruit the 20,000 officers desperately needed without having a look into how we treat our officers. But the clear message has to be that the service needs sustainable long term investment, a Royal Commission would also be beneficial and provide some kind of surety to the Government and public that money invested in policing, is in the right places."

With public plans to put an extra 20,000 police officers on the beat, a lack of willing recruits could make this difficult to achieve, Indeed has said.

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Bill Richards, Indeed UK managing director, said: “Finding an extra 20,000 police officers would be a challenge at any time. But with the UK unemployment rate at just 3.8 per cent, its lowest level for more than four decades, it’s likely to be even tougher. The tight labour market means all employers, including our public services, are having to fight hard to win each and every recruit.

“Police officers will get a 2.5 per cent pay rise from September 1, 2019 but forces will still need to focus on selling the full range of benefits that police work brings. While it can be a challenging job with long and antisocial hours, police officers enjoy a unique sense of social responsibility, trust and respect as well as a relatively attractive pension.

“But with our data suggesting some jobseekers may need some convincing, it remains to be seen if the Government’s high-profile plan to boost the police ranks will spark a renewed wave of jobseeker interest.”