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Norfolk Police Federation

Norfolk Police officers are leaving the service at a five-year high should be a “red flag” to the Government

22 February 2023

Norfolk Police officers are leaving the service at a five-year high, which should be a “red flag” to the Government over pay, said Norfolk Police Federation.

Last year, 55 officers resigned from Norfolk Constabulary, more than double the number that resigned in 2018. Meanwhile official submissions to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) warned the Government that policing would be under threat if it continued to ignore calls for a fair pay increase. It said that a third of officers had fewer than five years’ experience, and a rising number were leaving for the private sector.

Norfolk Police Federation Chair Andy Symonds said: “More and more officers are leaving the service compared to previous years. This should be a red flag to Government, to the NPCC, to the Police and Crime Commissioners all around the country, and to the Home Office, because that can’t continue.

“We’ve got a very young workforce. That in itself brings pressure on the officers who are more experienced and are trying to upskill these new officers, and contributes to their poor morale.

“And then that affects those people not wanting to go on to be detectives, which is another issue we have. Having fewer detectives is a scary place to be – we haven’t got that stream of people who want to go and put hardened criminals and organised gangs behind bars.”

Andy said it was important that the Federation continued to engage with chief officers and local MPs on the results of the Pay and Morale Survey, in which 84% of Norfolk officers said they felt worse off financially than they were five years ago.

He said: “That’s important evidence that we can put before the decision-makers. I’m going to take a couple of frontline officers to meet our Norfolk MPs, to explain the impact pay and morale is having on the police service. It’s important that we make them understand that there are serious risks coming over the hill around pay and conditions, and that people are leaving more than we’re recruiting.

“Unlike other professions, you can’t just pick agency police officers off a tree and go, ‘Right, we’ve got lots of gaps here now and we’re struggling to fill them’.

“We’re looking for a pay deal that at least matches inflation. We’ve seen the Fire Brigades Union recommending to settle their 7% pay rise. That’s 2% more than police officers got. I put that squarely down to the fact that they’re able to negotiate their pay.

“Police officers haven’t got the ability to negotiate their pay – they cannot strike, withdraw their labour or work to rule. So we’re in a really difficult position. We rely on the Government to treat us fairly. Since 2010, the opposite has been the case. We must make sure we educate all of the MPs, and keep pushing so that the pay review body is amended.”