Your Risk versus an Employers’ Gamble

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I recently noted on twitter that some organisations had allegedly considered that taking on a former police officer or police member of staff was basically a ‘gamble’.

This was quickly refuted by many, but it did get me thinking as to who’s gamble this really was. If you manage to complete the number of years to gain a full pension, irrespective of job role or rank, you are probably in a safer place than many in terms of financial security. Recognising of course that there are many variants of expenditure for all of us, some may not be as better off than others due to personal circumstances. If you leave the police before reaching pension age, then for you, what may well be a riskier decision is often backed up by a great deal of desire and commitment to ensure that you have the means to success. Having no actual income, for whatever period of time, is a great motivator to make a success of it!

As police officers we are taught all about decision-making and ‘spinning the wheel’ many times round to ensure that the circumstances haven’t changed and, where they have, to make new assessments and look at different options etc. In making the decision to leave the service, however early, you are probably going to consider it as taking a risk.                                

For whatever reason, you no longer feel that policing is for you, but it feels like the right time for you to move on. Not having pension, because you are considering leaving early, can actually be the thing that keeps you from leaving, as financially, you may feel that you are ‘locked’ into the role. 

You may well have adopted the National Decision Model to clarify your rationale and your ultimate decision to sign on the dotted line and hand in your notice. The risk at this stage is yours and you will have likely considered the impact on your immediate family and those that you support financially. Hopefully, you will have planned your exit from policing well in advance. We recommend two years, but one year or less is manageable if you can commit to the necessary planning and preparation and if alternative routes to employment have already been considered. 

In terms of a next career or job, have you fully considered what the options are for new employment? Have you discussed these with your loved ones and those who will be relying on your financial support? Through discussions with many police officers who have left the service in the last few years, we are discovering that many are unaware of the full range of options that are available outside of policing. We have mentioned some of these in our previous articles but the list of employers who are looking for your skills is growing longer by the day.

The lesser risk is of course to go back into something ‘policing related’ where you likely to be more familiar with the skill-sets required, the job role and perhaps those in the organisation where you will be employed. You may also be happy with the salary being offered as they can often align closely to what your full-time salary was. If it’s a bit less, perhaps you will be in receipt of a pension to provide a top-up to your monthly income.

We would suggest that taking on such roles that you may be more familiar with, as a civilian within the policing family, are probably the least risky for you and certainly not a gamble for the potential employer because of your aligned background. The threats to taking on policing related roles would probably be very minimal for you, so there shouldn’t be too many concerns about such roles. The main question to perhaps consider is whether you want a change as opposed to more of the same? You may well be thinking that it’s time to leave it all behind and make a fresh start.

We’ve encountered many former police officers and police staff who have remained within the policing family and just as many who decided it was time for a change. There appears to be no more levels of happiness or regret in either camp. It’s just different. At Leaving the Police, we enjoyed the challenge of a fresh start, away from policing, although we have maintained ties through our website www.leavingthepolice.co.uk 

Either way, all is not lost because if you stick with what you know, that’s fine, but on the other hand, “UK Plc” are looking for former police officers and staff and no, they are not going to be taking a gamble. Irrespective of the role or rank you were previously working in within policing, one of the key things that “UK Plc” are looking for is potential employees who can align to their core values. In policing, as recruits and all through our policing careers we were brought up on values such as integrity, impartiality and professionalism. We were trained and taught to be resolute, compassionate and committed. 

From your perspective, you’re likely to be more emotionally aware (please see Mark Corder’s article in this issue regarding Emotional Intelligence) and you are not frightened to take ownership of the problems you encounter. In policing you are taught to be fully inclusive, enabling and where appropriate to demonstrate visionary leadership. You are also taught to be collaborative and wherever possible to engage with your stakeholders and take a multi-agency approach to resolving societal issues. These are the kind of values that “UK Plc” are looking for and we each have them in abundance but perhaps don’t recognise how readily transferable they are to other non-police related job roles.

Depending on the individual roles undertaken within policing, each of you have provided intelligent, creative and informed policing and you have been taught how to analyse problems critically and dynamically when required. The majority of those working within policing careers are innovative and open-minded. Through many years of experience each of you have gained a full understanding of the values required to provide the daily outputs of policing. 

It is very difficult to put a financial value on this for every police employee but one thing that is certain, the experiences you have had, no matter where you have worked within a police organisation, will be much sought after in organisations who have absolutely nothing to do with policing. The golden thread in my view is that of how you deal with people. The skills you have gleaned, no matter whether you’ve been in policing for 2 years or 35 years, are readily transferable to many other job roles outside the policing ‘bubble’. 

Let me now go back to the original question. If you are considering leaving policing or have completed your service but now wish to pursue something completely different, is it you who is taking the risk or the potential employee who is taking the gamble? In my view there will always be a slight risk there for you personally but if you believe in yourself, your family and friends believe in you, the risks are minimal. You already have the requisite skill-set to do something different and it’s just a case of writing these down in non-policing language within your CV. 

The latter part of the question. Will it be a gamble for employers (especially those not linked to policing) to take on someone who used to be a police officer or police staff member? We would strongly argue the case that it wouldn’t be a gamble, but it would be a financially and commercially astute move for any employer to take you on for the reasons outlined above. Your personal values, professionalism, respect of others, skills and competences gained in policing and life experiences will put you head and shoulders above many when competing for a vacancy, but you will also need self-belief.

At Leaving the Police we will be engaging with many potential employers over the coming months and we will be advertising lots of positions on our Jobs Board page at www.leavingthepolice.co.uk Please take a look and hopefully we will be able to help you to help yourself.  

Rob Hoblin

Director and Co-Founder

Leaving the Police

SCJ Excellentia East AMB