Police officer retention in England and Wales

Document type
Crawford, Rowena; Disney, Richard; Simpson, Polly
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
3 January 2017
IFS briefing note; BN191
Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

Download (509KB )

This briefing note examines police officer retention in detail. It starts by describing the institutional context: how police officers can leave the force voluntarily or involuntarily, and the incentives created by the police pension schemes.

The next section examines how common different types of exit are across England and Wales as a whole, and what police officers do when they leave the force.

Characteristics of the police labour market imply that standard analyses of employee retirement in other occupations are less pertinent to police officers. Exit rates are not very sensitive to aggregate fluctuations in public spending or the aggregate business cycle.

In addition, many police officers do not retire from the labour force on leaving the police. Nevertheless, local conditions may be an important factor in considering retention and exit strategies of police officers.

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