Agenda item

Update on Recruitment and Retention of Police Officers


The PCC will update the Panel on the recruitment and Retention of TVP Officers.


The PCC provided the Panel with an update on the recruitment and retention of police officers within Thames Valley Police Force.


Reference was made to there now being more police officers in Thames Valley than ever before mainly due to the Uplift programme with the headcount of warranted officers standing at 4,772.


The Panel was informed there was still an issue of officers who were leaving the Force due to retirement, resignation or dismissal.


At the end of March 2023, the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme would be coming to an end. This was the strongest officer recruitment and the latest news was that a degree was to be no longer compulsory for new recruits.


The PCC reminded the Panel that newly recruited Police Officers had to previously obtain a degree qualification within 2 years as a recruited Police Officer. Apprenticeships for a period of three years, also had to obtain a degree qualification within this period.


The report included updates on retention measures and how to increase application levels from BAME and female applicants. There were encouraging progression in this respect.


The PCC referred to the scheme to recruit military service veterans to TVP.


Members’ Questions


(1)  The PCC was asked whether the different tier entry into TVP had any effect on the advancement of individuals?


[The PCC replied that there was no difference in the tier entry in terms of progression.]


(2)  The PCC was asked what work was being carried out to ensure there was not a drop off of applications from ethnically diverse candidates? There were 22% applications from ethnically diverse backgrounds in the pipeline, yet only 14% of officer joiners were from BAME backgrounds.


[The PCC informed the Panel that an engagement team had been established to improve engagement with BAME and female applicants. There were a variety of reasons for applicants dropping off during the recruitment process. It could be that late in the process, applicants decide that the Police was not for them. There could be personal or family reasons for the change in mind.


The PCC said that the engagement team would talk to the individual to find out the reason for their dropping out of the process. Progress was being made.]


(3)  The PCC was asked whether services such as the armed forces could work together with TVP to enable constructive relationships regarding transfers.


[The PCC replied that the challenge was to be more creative. There was already a good relationship with the Ministry of Defence and TVP made good use of Section 22 agreements to enable collaboration.]


(4)  The PCC was asked what TVP was doing to attract more women into the service. Additionally, what more could be done to improve the retention of women in the Police.


[The PCC replied that staff associations were working on this, and work was taking place on improving the recruitment of women. There have been successful women and officers from BAME. There were talks which would be taking place in girls’ schools to improve recruitment.]


(5)  In relation to Police Community Support Officers (PCSO), the PCC was asked what could be done to recruit this vital resource, particularly for the work they carried out in the community such as with anti-social behaviour.


[The PCC referred to PCSOs who had progressed to Police Officers and who had become PCSOs to assess the attractiveness of a career in policing. There could be an option of tying in PCSOs to a time period and work was taking place on recruiting to the PCSOs vacancies.]


(6)   The increased number of Police Officers is most welcome, however, there still required work to be done on improving the ratio of Police Officers to the population of Thames Valley. Reference was made to the national vetting issues on the recruitment of Police Officers which had resulted in unsuitable recruits in the Police and the PCC was asked for his views on getting the right people in the Force.


[The PCC replied that by the end of the financial year it was forecast that TVP would have its highest number of Police Officers by per 1,000 population of Thames Valley.


Regarding problems with police vetting, the PCC was concerned at Police Officers who were particularly transferring between Forces, slipping through the vetting procedures. There was a strong culture within TVP where concerns regarding officers would be highlighted.


The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners would be discussing vetting to ensure that there was consistency across Forces, however, vetting is not always the issue, as any officer may fall foul of disciplinary or criminal issues in a few years. The culture of the Force was very important in terms of identifying problem officers.


In response to a comment regarding policing numbers in Milton Keynes and the lack of Police support for a recent bonfire, the PCC said he would provide an update after investigating. [ACTION: PCC]].


(7)  Reference was made to the policing numbers and that the increase in Police Officers belied residents’ impression at the lack and visibility of Police Officers on the streets. The PCC was asked to comment on this.


[The PCC reported that the numbers were correct, but he agreed regarding visibility and that Police Officers on the street were important for crime prevention. Work needed to be done on improving visibility. Officers were in neighbourhoods and still in their policing areas, but they responded to other incidents.]


RESOLVED – That the report of the PCC and the information provided at the meeting be noted.


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