For many aspiring Police Officers out there, there has
recently been a rare flare of recruitment activity that has given hope to being
finally able to start a career in the Police. After almost three years of
recruitment freezes, many Police forces are finally starting to open their
doors to new applicants.
Forces who have taken part in recruitment drives in 2013
include Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Manchester and Nottingham and a few others.
So does this mean that Police budget austerity and recruitment freezes are
finally over? Hardly. Police budgets are set to tighten further as the
Chancellor George Osborne seeks to further tighten the budgetary purse strings.
If we were to look closer at these recent recruitment
figures, it can be seen that there's hardly a cause for celebration.
Staffordshire Police's recent recruitment drive attracted 1400 applicants for
just fourteen positions, that translates to around 100 people per position, an
extraordinary ratio for any job seeker. This isn't just an isolated case
either, North Yorkshire Police recently reported 500,000 phone calls for just
70 jobs, a staggering amount.
With such figures in mind it is easy to imagine just how
stiff competition is. This is particularly true for external applicants (those
who are not PCSOs or Special Constables), they are having to compete with a
wealth of candidates who have hands on experience of the role that they are
applying for and are known to those currently serving within their chosen
force. While this can be argued to be a good thing for the force, it does not
improve the ply of the average applicant who possesses the determination and
skills needed to be a Police Officer but finds himself without the experience
of internal applicants.
Not only are these short recruitment bursts proving
difficult for candidates but Police numbers are still falling despite these
recruitment drives. The number of officers within Staffordshire's Police force
are set to fall to 1750 by 2015 from their peak of 2,347 in 2006, this is a
nationwide trend and due to further cutbacks within forces, this is certainly
not a trend that will be reversed any time soon.
In the current recruitment climate it is easy to see just
how difficult becoming a Police Officer is. The most determined of candidates
will have to steel themselves against the odds, apply for internal positions as
Police Special Constables and PCSOs and keep applying. As Britain recovers from
it's economic crisis, it can be hoped that Police Forces will receive a much
needed fresh injection of cash that will see larger and more frequent