Hundreds quit Police Scotland after less than a decade, figures show

More than 800 officers have quit Police Scotland after serving on the force for less than a decade, data from the past five years has revealed.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information request showed 847 had quit before serving ten years.

Nearly half of these (438) left before serving three years. The figures are published in 1919, the justice affairs magazine.

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Last week, MSPs were told Police Scotland may have to pull back from key services like community policing if its budget is cut in real terms in coming years. The Scottish Government has said police pay is higher in Scotland compared to England and Wales across almost every rank.

Hundreds have left Police Scotland within their first 10 years of service, new figures have shown. Picture: John Devlin

Lib Dem deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain said: “Despite violent and sexual crime being on the rise, Police Scotland have been plagued by a shortage of resources and funding. No wonder that significant numbers of officers have had enough and are calling it quits.

“These figures show that Scotland has lost more than a year’s worth of new recruits. Police Scotland need to retain skilled and trained officers. Staff quitting so early in their police careers sends a worrying signal about the state of the service.”

David Hamilton, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, told 1919 magazine: “These numbers are really alarming and expose the harsh realities of working in policing. Pay, conditions, exposure to violence, occupational risk and the lack of Government recognition have been gnawing away at the attractiveness of the profession.

“With record low resourcing, Police Scotland just can’t afford this level of attrition.”

Deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor said recruitment had been increased. She said: “Policing is a relentless, but immensely rewarding vocation and I am hugely grateful to those who step forward to provide vital public service.

“Last year, an independent academic survey of almost 7,400 Police Scotland officers and staff found high levels of job satisfaction throughout our service. As with all sectors, people leave policing for all sorts of reasons. However, retention levels within Police Scotland are very high compared with other organisations.

“Right across the country, officers and staff are working incredibly hard to maintain effective policing for all our communities and the organisation is deeply grateful for all their hard work during this time of significant challenge.”

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A spokesman for justice secretary Keith Brown said: “Around 600 new police officers took the oath of office earlier this year in Scotland where the basic starting salary for a constable in Scotland is currently approximately £5,000 more than that paid to equivalent officers in England and Wales.

“At almost every rank police pay is higher in Scotland. Despite UK Government austerity, we have increased police funding year-on-year since 2016/17, and have invested more than £10 billion in policing since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013.

“The recruitment of police officers in Scotland is a matter for the chief constable. However, officer numbers fluctuate due to the cycle of recruitment, with retirement being the most common reason for leaving.”



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