“Why I Am Thinking Of Quitting As A Police Officer… After A Year!” | Anon

A serving police officer contacted us and asked us to share this blog on the condition of anonymity.

If you are a serving police officer, then does this account fit with your own experiences? Let us know in the comments below:

“Some people fight for years to achieve their dream of becoming a police officer, and some get handed it on a platter with little to no work at all, I am one of those that fought for years to get my “dream job”. 

Imagine fighting for years and against so many others to get to your dream, thinking you are stepping into a life long career to find out that you are miserable? 

Well after just one year I am considering leaving my dream and here are my reasons why.

1. Pay! 

Anyone who says “I don’t do my job for the pay I do it because I love it” is lying! 

I challenge any police officer to say that they get paid enough, that they don’t have some debt because of their job, that they don’t worry each month about paying their bills. 

If you are lucky enough to get a London weighting or South East allowance, you might have a little fewer worries, but the starting pay for a police officer is just bo**ocks! 

And don’t get me started on overtime, which if you ask me is non-existent and even then only the “old salts” get it. 

If you take an average monthly salary of a police officer after tax £1600-1800 at 40 hours a week we get paid… drum roll… £10-11.25 an hour. 

The UK living wage is £9.30 an hour or if you are in London £10.75, so considering this and the risks we face every day is that really enough?

2. Sick leave 

And you better believe that I say “sick leave” with an eye roll. 

They say that when you come back from being sick that they are there to support you, but really they are judging you, they don’t believe that you were really sick and they want to punish you for being sick. 

Injure yourself and meet your lovely little desk which they will sit you at until you retire or give up and quit because why would they want to pay an injured officer when they could get a fresh new one for cheaper. 

3. Quality of Life

Back in the day, before working for the police, I had hobbies! 

I know that it is hard to believe, but I had a lot of hobbies, and now I have…. wait for it…. none! 

I don’t remember the last time I did something for just me. 

I work so hard during my working week, and it makes me so tired that on my days off I just have no energy, literally zero, all I want to do is sleep, I barely have the energy to clean my tiny house (because remember s*it pay) let alone meet with friends or family or do a hobby. 

And those friends and family gave up on you a lifetime ago because, well you are never available or too tired. 

4. Shifts

I have worked shifts almost my entire working life so being a police officer was not a shock to the system, but I have to say for the amount we are paid the lack of sleep is just not worth it. 

And how about being put on a scene watch, cell watch or bed watch and no one comes to relieve you for a toilet break until an hour before your shift finishes because none of your so-called “oppos” can be bothered to come to check on you or relieve you for five minutes, and then only getting home after a ten-hour shift to realise you haven’t eaten all-day

5. Bullying is not banter

We teach kids that bullying is bad and you shouldn’t do it, but there are grown adults bullying each other, what sort of example do the adults of the police force give when they are bullying their colleagues, their oppos daily in front of everyone? 

And yes bullying happening in front of victims, witnesses and even suspects. 

Banter is great, what is a workplace without banter, it’s great to have a laugh especially in a role like police, we have to lighten the mood and smile, but people need to learn the line because that “thin blue line” is very close to being the “thin bullying line”

6. IOPC/ professional standards

Imagine looking over your shoulder with every breath you take in your work… imagine wondering, in five, ten, twenty years am I going to be investigated for a decision I make right now and potentially end up in prison or losing your pension. 

Am I going to get the dreaded call from professional standards or internal investigations in a day, a week, a year, or more? 

Imagine covering your ass constantly, doing more than you should to cover your ass, imagine having anxiety constantly even though you think you aren’t doing anything wrong.

And even more, imagine being questioned by your sergeant, inspector and even your colleagues for everything you do and feeling like you need to get permission to do anything. 

Imagine loving your job, well the content of your job, helping people, trying to make a difference but also dreading going in every day. 

A lot of people won’t read this, some people will 100% disagree with me, but one or two of you are going to read this and realise…you are not alone. 

Being a police officer is hard, not always because of the job but everything that goes with it, and there is no shame in saying enough is enough… I want better”.

The blog was sent into our team by an anonymous follower who is on the thin blue line. 

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22 comments

  • Jo Hazelwood

    Someone who has only been in a year & goes on about sick pay says it all. I’ve been in 12 years & value my job every day. Good riddance

    • Tbh if you are a officer your just proving his points nicely in a single sentence

      • You have to bear in mind that, having been in for a year, this Officer will have done something like 18 weeks classroom training, 10 weeks of tutor phase, countless detached “assessed patrol” days and (by the sounds of it) has been off sick for a fair amount of time. Their actual experience of Policing is very limited and, whilst I have a degree of sympathy for the way they’re currently feeling, this job simply isn’t for them. We simply don’t have the time or the numbers to be constantly bending over backwards to drag someone with such a blatant lack of resilience through their probation. Leave now, take your pension contributions back and go and do something easier. There’s no shame in it.

  • Police personal are special and do a thankless job.i served in the army for 22 years and enjoyed it.But I would not be a police man it’s a job that needs special people .

    Respect

  • You are most certainly in the wrong job.

  • Scott J M Thomson

    Served a year and is moaning. Yes it can be awful in those first years with ridiculous e-portfolios to complete but we’ve all had one version of them or another to do.

    Overtime , it’s coming out of our ears and not all the old sweats as they call them, they don’t want it.

    As for hobbies, I have plenty and work shifts too.

    It just seems that after all the hope to get in the job they have discovered they’re not cut out for it.

  • I served in the military for 25 years. I then joined the ambulance service for 4 years before joining the police. I lasted 18 months before being signed off with work related stress. During this time I re-evaluated my life and decided with great sadness to leave my police family. I have now gone back to the ambulance service and even in these uncertain times I am not feeling anywhere near as stressed. In fact I enjoy my job.
    The work load that each and every police officer is having to manage cannot continue. Front line response officers needs more help. There has to be an increase in frontline officers, an increase in the number of support staff.
    I miss being a police officer but I don’t regret making the decision to put my mental health first.
    In fact I am in the process of applying to be a special Constable so I can support the team I feel I let down when I resigned.

    Officers need more support.

    Stay safe guys

  • I think maybe your problem is poor line managers. I know mine care when I am ill and yes… proffesional standards are there for a reason. A lot of new people call banter bullying… you will be expected to do the arrests… the scene logs… the rtc books because you are new. You need to learn and be proficient. Professional standards are there for a reason. Dont need to worry if you dont do anything wrong. I think this job just aint for you. 14 years I have done , full time shifts and I have two children which I care for on my days off. The problem is a lot of people join thinking its all fast cars and being a hero. It isnt. Its hard work. And I dont think being paid 2100 a month after deductions is that terrible.

    • “you will be expected to do the arrests… the scene logs… the rtc books because you are new” Why on earth should someone who is new be ‘expected’ to do that, just because they are new? Of course they can do it so that they learn and get experience, but you are turning up to work the same as them…ignore your 14years experience/pay and do some of it yourself.

  • Well said. It’s brave of you to speak up and be honest with yourself after a year. Trust me it doesn’t get better. I’ve just completed 20 years and have three chronic health conditions all caused as result of long hours, exhaustion shift work subliminal bullying. It used to be the police against the crooks, but now it’s the police front line officers against our own internal managers. PSD are inept, lack peripheral vision and use a sledge hammer to crack a nut. 20 years exemplary service and I made a subjective decision, whilst recovering from an illness and being bullied back to work too early, that happens 5 years ago and only now they want to try and sack me. A year later I’m still waiting for a hearing. The senior police leaders are not fit for purpose have no idea what happens in the real police world, make ill informed decisions to shine their egos for the next rank rather than for the good of their staff or the victims of crime. The old boys met work is alive and kicking in the suburban forces! Dear new officers or anyone thinking of joining take some advice from a 20 year officer. LEAVE or better still DONT JOIN

    • I think this is a really well written informative Blog. It’s with great sadness that I myself write having near on identical experiences, agreeing with 99.9% of the comments made. In my opinion there is no excuse for any of this. Writing it’s just not the job for you is also unacceptable and probably written by individuals who’s face has fitted and lucky for them have just been fortunate. Not taking away from the great and dedicated length of service you have given and well done to you.

      However having only been in the job 18 months and attempting to get in for 8 years already been bullied by supervision team members subject to an unneccessary investigation which went on for nearly 6 months whilst I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression anxiety and suicidal thoughts due to lack support and bullying. For the investigation to conclude I only needed or it only warranted management action by means of advice is unacceptable. Know one I genuinely believe joins this job out of anything other then wanting to do a be a good person and help others aside from the few that join to drive fast cars and feel empowered because they are weak and insecure people.

      People and the public should be aware of the great loss this once admired service will suffer as good people leave in troffs due to all of the above.Sad times we live in.

  • I’ve read all the comments and agree with some and disagree with others. I do not know which force the author works for so cannot comment.
    My thoughts? Banter is good nd can help with stress and the demands of the job – however it is easy for it to get a bit too much. I would say though that as adults we have a responsibility to hold up our hands and say “Hang on cut me some slack – this is getting a bit much now” and if you feel you can’t say it to the team then go to a supervisor or trusted colleague to ask them to intervene.

    The point about being injured and asked to fill a desk – it doesn’t make much sense. If you are able to fulfil a restricted role in the station then why on earth would you not? You are being paid to work and if you can do that by making calls or assisting colleagues with statements then why would you not?

    The halfway point during the probation period is tough – you are left to fend for yourself, you have conflicting pressures with your one file, eportfolio (different forces use different systems) and workload, you are concerned because you don’t know as much as others or others appear to be getting better jobs etc but you’ll get through it – if you are unhappy within your team then speak to your inspector, probationer training unit assessor or a trusted supervisor. It’s a big job once through the 2 years and there’s lots of choices.

    Money, well, no one ever got rich as a copper, and the starting salary is low, but well publicised. Please remember though it goes up quickly and the top whack after 7 years is pretty good, and that’s before looking at promotion.

    Tiredness – a commonly heard fact. It is tiring to do rotating shifts, it does make you want to sit on your sofa and vegetate but that’s where the personal side comes in – for a long time I found the first of my rest days was somewhat of a wash out or if I left it for RD’s to arrange to go out then I wouldn’t bother. Make some plans in advance- arrange to go to lunch with a mate, plan a trip somewhere – book a show or a cinema ticket – anything.

    Lastly – policing is a uniquely taxing job, both mentally and physically, I know people that have come from field such as the forces, nursing and other roles that seem that they would be well suited for the role but have left the job. It is not for everyone – this does not mean failure or that a copper is tougher – most definitely not but i will say it again, it is a unique role that requires a resilient mindset.

    I all well aware of the demands, I myself have suffered from anxiety, PTSD and eventually a heart attack, but I have been blessed with having supportive colleagues and supervisors. I have also had my share of idiot managers but that is the same in every organisation. There does need to be a change in leadership but the job will always remain the same – help people, keep people safe and where possible lock up the bad guys.

    And paperwork, lots of paperwork.

    Mate, if you’re so unhappy now, then go, don’t be unhappy for the next 5 years when it’ll be you can’t afford to leave, find another job to do. If you choose to stay, then do it whole heartedly, don’t sit in the report room moaning and influencing even newer officers – turn up and give a f@#k, that’s why you joined the job.

    Hope it works out.

  • I think you should look differently at your Police Officer job. It is So hard to get there. You are lucky to get in. You in and nów despite difficulties do not give up. You lived that job and said it is your dream job. Believe me if you resign now you can moan at other work place. Try to learn from the best ones. Nobody is tough. You can break anyone… life is so hard anywhere. Fight for your dream. Learn from paper work. It must be even one readonable person there where you can ask and can train you property. Police Officers are humans remember that. All of them they must start as you and they know how you feel. Asked the best ones how do things, learn from them. If you love you will be living that job all your life. People will be going off sick we are not made from metal frame but when you come back just be honest coś honesity counts in policing. Take care and do not give up!!! All the best mate.

  • Quentin Stamp

    Sorry. I worked Police and Ambulance 19 -65 , retiring only a couple of years ago. Sorry , after a year in The Job , you’ve obviously chosen the wrong one . Do yourself and your colleagues a favor . Put your ticket in and get out .

  • Retired Sgt.

    It used to be a great job. I served from 1971 to 2009 and loved 99% of it. Sadly modern management are mostly not real police officers, but often promoted beyond their capabilities, usually with useless degrees. The best chiefs worked their way up from the beat, and never forgot what the job was meant to be about. They knew that we sometimes made mistakes and got it wrong, but that if we were hard working and did our best, they would accept an honest mistake and give advice instead of punishment. Once or twice you come up against a supervisor who wants to climb on the backs of their colleagues to try to get higher, but they generally get their come- uppance. Too much time these days spent on recording statistics. Officers should be on.the street not tied to a computer.

  • Can’t say i agree with much of this. Bullying- if it goes to far raise it. The only time i’ve ever seen negativity around sickness is when people go off constantly for minor/non existent issues, and in terms or injury be happy you still have a job you’re being paid for, a lot of professions you wouldnt. If its getting that bad for you after a year i’d suggest its not the job for you, no shame in looking for something else, to stay just causes issues for you and others around you.

  • OK, even if you had a point about the iopc, the rest reads like over entitled, self indulgent twaddle.

    It sounds like you need a new career which better suits your needs, as I doubt it is policing.

    To start off your article by saying people like me are liars just goes to show how removed, or maybe how privileged you are.

    No criticism for moaning, that’s what cops do. But dear lord this article made me want to bang my head on the table.

  • Policing takes a certain amount of resilience. This person doesn’t have it.
    There is nothing about the job that is a surprise here – pay, shifts, expectations of professionalism, being thick skinned, work/life balance.
    The police service isn’t for snow flakes. Time for this one to leave. Especially the type of snowflake that whinges online about it and then sends it anonymously to another site because they don’t feel they are getting enough attention.
    To the author, I hope you read this. If you are feeling like this after just one year then policing isn’t for you. Not even remotely close. Time to pack up and do something else before you either burn out through stress, or become hated within the organisation because all you emit at work is hatred.

  • This person doesn’t have resilience for the job. They are (it sounds with some bitterness) saying what the ‘old salts’ are getting in comparison to them. Perhaps those longer in service have a vast array of skills and experience which means that they work on the ‘Gucci’ jobs whilst you stand on a scene somewhere getting a bit cold. Well…. we’ve all been there. We’ve been there doing the rubbish jobs getting cold and hungry and looking at others and wanting to do what they’re doing. However, most of us are grown ups and know that we will get there with hard work, resilience and a sense of personal sacrifice to serve the public. It’s best that the author gets another job because they aren’t officer material.

  • Having read the post, I have to agree at times. The number of times that I’ve came out crying from work considering just quitting, I’ve started applying for different jobs outside of the police now. I’ve been in frontline for two years now. A prime example of sick leave where people are commenting saying you shouldn’t be taking it you don’t know the situation, at the beginning of COVID, I had to self-isolate and I was put on sick leave by HR and my inspector. My sgt and his friend off the shift decided to turn up at my home address banging on the door saying that they had been trying to contact me and that they had been sent to make sure I was in the house and not pulling a fast one. I wouldn’t have minded this but they decided to stand at my gate and shout across the garden so now my neighbours know what I do, some of the neighbours I don’t get on with and I know have had bad involvement with the police. I spoke to my inspector on return to work to which he told me to get over it and learn to move on. In my eyes, that has now put myself and my fiancé in a very difficult situation and potentially a dangerous one where we are constantly watching our backs. We get old not to travel to work in half blues but that’s ok? The scenes is another one that’s disheartened me, I don’t mind doing them but I have always said it’s only fair that everyone has a go at sitting on a scene/ bed watch. For the past year I’ve been the only person on our shift that has been gave the job of sitting on scenes which is not what I applied to do! I applied to help support in safeguarding vulnerable people, investigating and preventing crime. I don’t care about the blue lighting, it’s about supporting those vulnerable persons who are experiencing probably one of the worst days of their lives. The cake fines too, completely agree with them, should bond a team but when every footstep you take ends up with a cake fine even for mistakes that haven’t actually had anything to do with you but you’re pressured to buy them… that’s where the line is. Keep your head up, try and get a move and if it doesn’t work you might have to leave. It’s the only job I ever dreamt of and now I’m planning on going which has made me really disheartened

  • I served as a police officer for 2 years (PCSO for 2 years previous) I started off enjoying being a constable ivery much… it was all I wanted to do and worked so very hard for.

    After approximately 18 months, a restructure took place due to cuts and being thin on the ground. This is when everything changed for me. My new line manger was unsupportive, my work load became unmanageable. I would be criticised for going out and being proactive or responding to jobs because I wasn’t getting on with my work and when I got on with my work I was criticised for not going out, being proactive and responding to jobs. It was impossible to strike a balance.

    The paperwork was endless.

    Also something else that bugged me was that the longer serving officers were paid more and generally did less work as they would make newer officers or probationers do it. This infuriated me.

    One thing I did love was my team. We all looked after one another and supported each other like we were a family.

    It got to the point where I had a enough of being tired, having an unmanageable work load, no time to eat my lunch (unless i scoffed it down my neck quickly while writing a statement and before being called to another job) and rubbish pay I think my salary was about £23,000 when I left. I chose not to work overtime because it wasn’t worth the stress and creating extra work loads for the little overtime pay and I valued my small amount of time away from the station.

    My colleagues were also becoming miserable, it was a really negative and depressing environment and so sad to see.

    I decided I wasn’t going to be one of those that remained in the job because I was institutionalised and moaned every single day, bringing the rest of the team down. I now work on the railway and I am soooooo much happier. I work less hours, have more time with my family, much less paperwork/ass covering and looked after my management so much better. My salary is now £40,000 with lots of opportunity for overtime and amazing perks (including free rail travel).
    Everyone that does the same role as me gets paid exactly the same salary.

    My quality of life is so much better. Best decision I ever made was leaving the police.

    I worked in a very fast-paced and busy police station. I understand that officer who wok smaller more rural stations probably have a different and better experience than I had as they have less jobs to respond to, allowing them time to get on with their workload.

    I still have complete and utter respect for those that choose to police because it is hard, it is very hard and I thank all police officers for serving and protecting us.

  • I served as a police officer for 2 years (PCSO for 2 years previous) I started off enjoying being a constable ivery much… it was all I wanted to do and worked so very hard for.

    After approximately 18 months, a restructure took place due to cuts and being thin on the ground. This is when everything changed for me. My new line manger was unsupportive, my work load became unmanageable. I would be criticised for going out and being proactive or responding to jobs because I wasn’t getting on with my work and when I got on with my work I was criticised for not going out, being proactive and responding to jobs. It was impossible to strike a balance.

    The paperwork was endless.

    Also something else that bugged me was that the longer serving officers were paid more and generally did less work as they would make newer officers or probationers do it. This infuriated me.

    One thing I did love was my team. We all looked after one another and supported each other like we were a family.

    It got to the point where I had a enough of being tired, having an unmanageable work load, no time to eat my lunch (unless i scoffed it down my neck quickly while writing a statement and before being called to another job) and rubbish pay I think my salary was about £23,000 when I left. I chose not to work overtime because it wasn’t worth the stress and creating extra work loads for the little overtime pay and I valued my small amount of time away from the station.

    My colleagues were also becoming miserable, it was a really negative and depressing environment and so sad to see.

    I decided I wasn’t going to be one of those that remained in the job because I was institutionalised and moaned every single day, bringing the rest of the team down. I now work on the railway and I am soooooo much happier. I work less hours, have more time with my family, much less paperwork/ass covering and looked after my management so much better. My salary is now £40,000 with lots of opportunity for overtime and amazing perks (including free rail travel).
    Everyone that does the same role as me gets paid exactly the same salary regardless of how
    Long they’ve served or how much experience they have. At the end of they day, we’re all doing the same job.

    My quality of life is so much better. Best decision I ever made was leaving the police.

    I worked in a very fast-paced and busy police station. I understand that officer who work smaller more rural stations probably have a different and better experience than I had as they have less jobs to respond to, allowing them time to get on with their workload.

    I still have complete and utter respect for those that choose to police because it is hard, it is very hard and I thank all police officers for serving and protecting us.

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