Australian Cops quitting in droves

More than a third of officers have less than 10 years’ experience

  • 13 officers a year leave within their first 12 months
  • More than 1250 officers had three or fewer years’ experience
  • Some 850 new officers have been recently recruited

COPS in Victoria are quitting the service at a rate of four a week amid predictions that keeping officers will get harder.

More than a third of police officers have 10 or fewer years’ experience, latest figures obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws show. Police command predicted the average length of service – which has remained at about 14 years for the past decade – would fall as it continues to recruit 1700 extra police officers and 940 protective services officers.

The Police Association in Victoria also flagged retention would be harder. Eighty-two officers resigned within their first 12 months in the six years to June 2010, leaving a bill of several million dollars.  The union said rookies leaving might in part be because some were wowed by TV crime shows, but unable to cope with real policing.

The figures also reveal: MORE than 1250 officers – or just over 10 per cent of the 11,588 officers – had three or fewer years’ experience.   OFFICERS on the beat for 31 to 40 years had the biggest proportion of those who resigned, followed by cops in the job for four to 10 years.  ALMOST half of the officers who quit retired and were aged 50 to 64.  Just 28 people have signed up to be part of the second intake of armed guards to work at railway stations.  Eighteen PSOs start at inner city stations this month.

Some 850 new officers have been recruited as part of Premier Ted Baillieu‘s $602 million pre-election promise. Association secretary Greg Davies said policing was like other industries – there was a constant need to recruit people to replace experienced employees and people now often changed careers.  He said an average of 13 officers a year leaving within their first 12 months was “probably a higher number than you would like but not dramatically so”.  “You would like to think people would like policing and stay in it for 20 or 30 years or more as many people still do,” Sen-Sgt Davies said.

Executive director of Victoria Police‘s people department Bec Munn said the service was proud its attrition rate for sworn officers was about 4 per cent. “We’ve always had to balance growth in numbers with attrition and will continue to do so,” Ms Munn said.

Police Minister Peter Ryan said the Government had “every confidence” in the quality of police.  Opposition police spokesman James Merlino said he was concerned standards would not be maintained. 

.By Amelia Harris /Herald Sun