AN ‘INFLUX’ of thousands of rookie officers has left police sergeants with mounting workloads and more stress, a new report has found.

It means the next few years are going to be tough for frontline sergeants and inspectors, according to Zoe Wakefield the Chair of Hampshire Police Federation.

She warns that supervising new officers is a challenge and creates additional work for higher-ranking members of the police force.

Her comments come following a report by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) which revealed that more than half of police sergeants feel they don’t have the time and resources to support new constables.

Daily Echo: Zoe Wakefield

Under the Government’s “Uplift” programme, 20,000 new police officers are to be recruited nationally by March 2023.

This will boost the number of officers to levels seen a decade ago.

However, the recruitment drive means sergeants will have more inexperienced PCs to supervise than ever before.

More than 6,600 officers were recruited nationally over the past year.

Zoe Wakefield, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, said: “Supervising new officers is a challenge and does create additional work for sergeants, however, this is a temporary problem for some real long-term benefits.

“The police force has suffered such severe cuts that if recruitment remained in small numbers, we would never get back to the numbers needed. All we would be doing is replacing officers lost through natural wastage. The training the new officers are getting is new and different (and hampered by COVID). Time will tell if it is adequate or needs changing.”


Daily Echo:

Zoe has praised sergeants, tutors and mentors.

However, she warns there has been a rapid decline in the average length of service for police officers.

She added: “This is a concern particularly as statistically; you are more likely to be assaulted if you are younger in service.”

The PFEW report is based on the survey responses of over 1,000 sergeants.

Some officers had highlighted that the sudden influx of inexperienced recruits could pose a risk to safety.

Dave Shields the Chair of the Southampton Safe City Partnership said that the city council has been lobbying long and hard for desperately needed additional police officers for the city.

The Labour councillor for Freemantle said: “I share the Police Federation’s frustrations with the additional burdens this places on existing staff. I also sympathize with local residents and businesses, who are expected to shoulder an increasing percentage of the funding of the police service through their taxes, and the exasperation they feel with the slow pace of progress and the long lapses in time between ministerial announcements and eventual delivery. “

Meanwhile, Tory MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith said: “It is fantastic news that so many more police officers are being recruited. That will cause challenges throughout the service with pressure on training, management and equipment. The Hampshire Police Federation make a good point and I’m sure the Minister for Crime and Policing will take the issue very seriously. In short, it’s a good problem to have.”