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'Leaving the force? I have no regrets'

A former Detective Constable from the City of London Police, 39, left the force in November 2013 after 15 years of service.
Published - 14/09/2017 By - Former City of London officer

I left the police because the government betrayed us.

When I joined in 1998 you would retire having done 30 years of service with your pension; but when the current government came to power, and in particular when Theresa May was Home Secretary, it drove forward changes to the pension scheme.

Rather than retiring at the age of 50, having contributed for 30 years, I was going to have to retire at 59 years of age with nine more years of contributions which would have been higher than what I was paying to start with.

I’ve talked to people at the top of multi-storey car parks who were going to commit suicide. I’ve sat with people in their apartments and talked them out of trying to stab themselves and taken them to mental health units when there was nowhere else for them to go. I’ve been held at knifepoint. I’ve found people hanging in their wardrobes. And I’ve held a dying little boy’s hand in the back of a crashed car.

To then have Home Secretary Theresa May say your job as a police officer is "nothing more and nothing less than to cut crime" was disillusioning.

Career mobility influenced my decision to resign. Within the City of London Police, an awful lot of people were passing the exams to be promoted to the rank of sergeant when there were no positions. I didn’t even bother applying because I didn’t want to waste my time studying for an exam to then have no chance of getting through.

When leaving the police, you walk away from job security. I didn’t care though because I was adamant about leaving.

I went to a bar in Canary Wharf for a colleague’s leaving do. I got speaking to an international bank’s anti-money laundering regional coordinator who said he had a job for me. Initially, I thought he wanted me to do a presentation for his team. Eventually he said: "‘No, you’re being a prat – I have a job for you in my unit." Because the beer was flowing I didn’t take it too seriously.

He asked me to send in my CV – I didn’t even have one. I joined the force at 20 and I didn’t think I needed one as I didn’t plan on leaving.

After sending it off, I was given a report writing exercise and the next thing I knew I got a phone call saying: "The job’s yours."

It was a healthy – no, significant – pay rise.

When I told my supervisors, none of them told me to stay - they recognised that I had been messed around with the pension.

The contract was sent through from the bank, I handed in my notice and I was gone. It was as quick as that.

Once we knew the pensions were going to change, a lot of people in the police felt angry, hurt and betrayed. That gave a lot of us the desire to leave.

Because I’ve left I will not get my police pension until I’m 60. I’ve got no faith that I’ll get any of that because if the government can do what it has done so far - it can do whatever else it wants.

There was also disillusionment about the lack of resources available to officers. There was not enough money being ploughed into the police. This is a common complaint in other forces: friends of mine from Bedfordshire Police often tell me that they are now doing the same job with half the people they had 15 years ago. The crime has not gone down, Luton is no nicer now and the police cars are not any faster; yet these under resourced officers are forced to try to police an area they struggled with beforehand.

However, for the most part, it comes down to the pension issue. For people to be told they were going to have to work so many more years, it has either made them leave, want to leave or have a level of resentment for the police service.

The government did not care that it was dealing with people. 

I can go to the City of London Police now and talk to some people who, when I left, were saying they were leaving but have no

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