A 'revolving door effect' is seeing a 'worrying' number of Suffolk police officers leaving, as the county's force is revealed to have the eighth worst leaver rate in England and Wales.

In the latest figures released by the Home Office, it was revealed that Suffolk Constabulary's leaver rate from April 2022 to March 2023 is 8%.

This places the force as the eighth highest of the 43 forces in England and Wales at 1.4% above the nationwide average.

Of the 232 workforce leavers, 63% voluntarily resigned, 23% retired and 6% were dismissed or had their contract terminated.

Chair of Suffolk Police Federation Darren Harris said the record numbers of police officers quitting across England and Wales is a "worrying sign".

While the government's three-year Police Uplift Programme added an extra 201 officers to Suffolk Constabulary, Mr Harris said "the real issue now is officer retention."

East Anglian Daily Times: Darren Harris, the chair of Suffolk Police Federation which represents the interests of the Force’s constables, sergeants and inspecting ranks.Darren Harris, the chair of Suffolk Police Federation which represents the interests of the Force’s constables, sergeants and inspecting ranks. (Image: Suffolk Police Federation)

He added: "It's great that we have finally been able to recruit officers to make up for those we lost during the austerity years, but we can't have a revolving door effect where, as fast as we bring in new recruits through one door, we lose our experienced officers out of the other."

Speaking of the resignations, Mr Harris pointed to an example in which an officer with six and a half years' service quit to re-join as a member of police staff in the control room.

He added: "He will take home more money and have fewer restrictions placed on his personal life, with no extended shifts or cancelled rest days."

And, though police received a seven percent pay rise this year, Mr Harris said this only goes some way in bringing pay back to where it should be for the "unique" role officers play in the community.

"We have been warning of a retention crisis in policing for many years, but it has always fallen on deaf ears," added Mr Harris.

"Many of our members feel overworked and under-appreciated. 

"It is a massive issue and feels like officers are leaving daily."

East Anglian Daily Times: Suffolk Constabulary's Deputy Chief Constable Rob Jones.Suffolk Constabulary's Deputy Chief Constable Rob Jones. (Image: Suffolk Constabulary)

Suffolk Constabulary's Deputy Chief Constable Rob Jones said: "It is always sad to see our police officers and staff leave the force. 

"The reasons for this are varied and complex - some of which are a desire for a change of career, financial motives, personal reasons or a need for a different work/life balance.

"We always look to explore with each individual leaver the motive for their departure."

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He added: "Policing is, by its nature, a tough and demanding job, physically, emotionally and mentally and it isn't a career for everyone.

"But it is also incredibly rewarding, privileged and varied as all our officers and staff have a role to play keeping the public safe and tackling criminality."

DCC Jones detailed that the recruitment and retention of police officers, both new and in transfers from other forces, is a priority for the constabulary to maintain officer numbers at historically high levels for Suffolk.

East Anglian Daily Times: Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore.Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. (Image: Newsquest)

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore confirmed that he monitors changes in the reasons people choose to resign from the force.

This is done at the six-monthly Accountability and Performance meetings, where he discusses policing issues with Chief Constable Rachel Kearton on behalf of Suffolk residents.

Mr Passmore said: "At the meeting last month, we looked at what more we can do to attract officers and staff to the county and considered attrition levels, diversity and staff vacancies to ensure Suffolk Constabulary continues to provide the best possible service to the people of Suffolk."