Law Enforcement continues to be affected by recruitment and retention issues.
Ruari Hardy, Head of Bailiwick Law Enforcement, told Express that recruitment initiatives will continue in 2023 following a “very difficult environment” over the past few years.
He says in BLE’s 2021 annual report: “Recruitment campaigns were successfully run for both the GBA and Police Force, but failed to reach the numbers we had hoped for.
“The public expectation of services will become even more challenging to deliver unless our staffing numbers recover to pre-COVID levels.”
The number of Officers working for the Police fell by 14 in 2021, whilst the GBA saw a reduction of nine officers.
Four individuals were hired as Police Officers - down from 21 in 2020 – whilst the GBA failed to recruit a single officer last year.
15 Police Officers resigned, three retired, and none were dismissed. Eight GBA Officers resigned, up from zero, and one had their contract end.
Civilian Support Staff saw a total reduction of 10 individuals, although it was noted that 22 staff were permanently transferred to the new Economic and Financial Crime Bureau, and 21 people were successfully recruited to fill the gaps.
Pictured: Personnel statistics for 2021.
Mr Hardy said: “We had some delays, and we had a number of recruitment sessions that we had to cancel because we couldn’t run them. We also unfortunately lost through retirement, through resignation, a number of members of staff, so where we would’ve run recruitment processes to fill gaps from attrition we were unable to do so - and that over a period of about 18 months hit us very hard.”
“I think Guernsey is a very challenging labour market. I think the pressures around everybody in terms of their own personal finances and that sort of thing, we are working in a competitive market, there isn’t an unlimited supply of people who would like to join this work.
“Within a small island community recruiting local applicants has been a challenge… one of the things we’ve done recently is invite people to come and join us, do a ride around, do shifts, actually talk to the staff, and I think one of the real positives within working in law enforcement is once people are working within the organisation they see we really do support one another - we understand the complexity of the work, we understand how, at times, difficult the work can be.
“It can vary from something very straightforward and simple with no impact on you at all, when suddenly you can be dealing with something that can be really quite difficult like a suicide, like a serious road traffic collisions, working with other blue light services. And, of course, that does have an impact on people seeing with and dealing with some of the offences we have to investigate.”
Pictured: BLE released its annual report last week.
A shortage of police officers at the end of 2021 required short-term additional support from UK forces. Ten police officers worked alongside local officers for a period of four weeks to ensure front line operational shifts were adequately resourced for policing the lead up to Christmas and New Year.
This was delivered through nationwide advertising to UK Police services.
Mr Hardy claimed: “If I had a brand new box of police officers, and open that box and pull them out, I would put some of that resource definitely into more neighborhood policing officers.
“But, as the report reflects, the numbers we’ve been working with, the necessity to make sure we're policing against risk - which is the real issue that we need to get across to our community.”
Mr Hardy said Police have been working in greater partnership with stakeholders such as schools, youth and sports commissions’, and social services to be better aware of localised concerns and problems.
“With some of the pressures on our numbers, our neighborhood policing team has not been as strong as we would hope. We have recently appointed a new Sergeant into neighborhood policing to really start that whole process again of building engagement with other agencies and dealing with some of those problems,” he said.
“It’s about preventing problems becoming not as big or as complex, trying to deal with things early. So it’s engagement with schools, engagement with youth groups, engagements with the constables and with the parishes - all that kind of work it's hugely important.”
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