Understanding voluntary resignations from the police service

This project will explore the reasons for an officer’s decisions to voluntarily resign from the police service.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Dr Sarah Charman
Police region
South East
Level of research
Professional/work based
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

The aim of this research is to consider the reasons for individual officer’s decisions to voluntarily resign from the police service. There is currently no academic literature which examines this issue despite a growing number of voluntary resignations within the police service of England and Wales.

This research will aim to more fully understand and appreciate the pressures of the policing working environment, the changing nature of crime and policing and the impact of these issues upon the wellbeing and job satisfaction of police officers. It will also provide the policing organisation with useful information to potentially avoid wastage of police resources which are invested in the recruitment and training of new policing recruits.

Key Research Questions

  1. To assess the attitudes of police leavers towards the policing organisation and the nature of police work.

  2. To evaluate the key and influential motivations behind the decision to resign from the police service.

  3. To consider the impact of informal policing cultures on job satisfaction amongst previously employed police officers.

  4. To analyse the potential for organisational changes which may reduce voluntary resignations.

Research methodology

  • Online survey distributed to all officers from one police force who voluntarily resigned from the service between November 2014 and June 2019.

  • Semi-structured interviews with a smaller sample of survey respondents to provide a fuller picture of the motivations for leaving.

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