Nearly 1000 officers quit police force 'after less than a decade'

The Scottish Police Federation has described the figures as 'alarming'.

Hundreds of officers quit Police Scotland after less than a decade, figures obtained by Lib Dems show iStock

Nearly 1000 officers have quit Police Scotland with less than a decade of service, ‘alarming’ figures have shown.

A freedom of information request obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed that 847 officers left the force before serving ten years.

Nearly half of these – 438 – departed after three years or less.

The Scottish Police Federation described the figures as “alarming” and warned the force “can’t afford this level of attrition”.

David Hamilton, Chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “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.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain blasted the Scottish Government for a “shortage of funding”.

She 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.

“A career in the police involves navigating complex pressures and high-level demands.

“The Scottish Government must act to improve pay, conditions and officer welfare or the service will struggle to attract and retain new recruits.”

Justice secretary Keith Brown responded to the claims, saying the SNP had increased police funding year-on-year, with Scottish officers benefitting from higher pay than their English counterparts.

A spokesperson for the justice secretary 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 £10bn 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.

“We also have more officers per head than England and Wales and with our officers being the best paid in the UK, it recognises the hard work and dedication of the police workforce across Scotland.”

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