The following briefing paper provides an update with regards to the Police Uplift Programme and the impact this has had on the overall police officer establishment. The paper will also provide an update on recruitment with regards to application numbers, differing entry routes and examples of activity to promote recruitment and workforce diversity.
In addition, an update with regards to the current PCSO establishment versus strength position has also been provided, which can be found under section 6 and an update on absence which can be found under section 7.
Police Uplift Programme Allocations and Establishment Impact
The following provides a summary of the police uplift allocations and projected establishments for each year:
End of Year Establishment
Year 1 - 2020/21
Year 2 - 2021/22
Year 3 - 2022/23
The total allocation over the full 3-year uplift programme originally equated to 489. As reported in the last People Paper, the force received confirmation on 6th July 2022 that its agreed ‘over allocation’ would be an additional 43 officers. As a result, this has increased the end of year 3 headcount aspiration from 195 to 238.
The force achieved both year 1 and year 2 of the uplift programme and the recruitment plan for year 3 (up to 31st March 2023) is regularly reviewed, with supporting action and activity undertaken to ensure the final year of the increased uplift is achieved.
3. Year 3 2022/23 Recruitment Plan
Between April 2022 and January 2023, a total of 473 officers joined the force (all entry routes). The January 2023 intake of 141 was the highest ever intake on record.
There is a recruitment plan in place for the remainder of the financial year, which aims to ensure that officer strength is closely aligned to the agreed establishment and police uplift over recruitment aspirations as of 31st March 2023.
The national transferee embargo in the final quarter of the financial year and in turn final quarter of Uplift has meant the risk to transferee’s leaving has ceased. However, based on the latest uplift data as at 31st December 2022, there were 59 outbound transferee applications, of which 41 were to the Metropolitan Police. However, of the 59, 23 are scheduled for April 2023, 26 for May 2023 and 10 for June 2023. The retention of officers is still a key factor to the success of meeting uplift, and the additional Officers joining to support the wider 20,000 Officers nationally.
The Force has taken some ambitious and creative steps to ensure continued growth of the recruitment pipeline, primarily through the increase in police officer applications, as reported in November 2022. Most recent activity includes, but is not limited to:
Optimising specialist Job Board applications through a Media Marketing Agency (Refer to marketing proposal) which went live in November 2022.
Continuing to reduce the average time to hire through process efficiencies and partnership co-operation with internal and external stakeholders.
Continued investment in the #MoreThanTheBadge campaign
Continued Outreach Events with updated and enhanced advertising, collateral, influential speakers/officers’ attendance, and full refresher training for all. This includes Recruitment Ambassadors, & Positive action/Recruitment team to continue at pace.
Ongoing withdrawal reviews and re-engagement with recent rejections and withdrawals (in line with COP Guidance or reengagement), whilst ensuring quality is not compromised.
The re-introduction in July 2022 of the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP), to provide another pipeline of applicants, for whom the PEQF may not be viable.
Other activity to support retention and career development includes:
The ‘Keep it Kent campaign that continues to support retention, highlighting and signposting the positive aspects of working in each force, including wellbeing and financial wellbeing support, development and promotional opportunities and the posting exchange initiative.
A faster and improved understanding of leaver reasons is being delivered through the new ‘Leaving the Organisation’ process, which also includes ‘Support Intervention Meetings’ to fully explore retention opportunities for those who have handed in notice and ensure a professional and dignified exit from the organisation.
Transferee interventions, conducted by senior officers with the officers who have applied to join other forces, have delivered some success in persuading officers to remain in Essex Police or Kent Police. As at 23rd January 2023 Kent have conducted 60 transferee intervention meetings, with 11 officers subsequently deciding to remain.
More broadly, additional career development activity includes Career Expo events, scheduled to begin in April 2023, to showcase the opportunities and pathways available to young in service officers. New career development plans for ethnic minority officers in line with the College of Policing Inspire programme are being developed, and a review of succession planning to ensure efficiency and effectiveness has begun with strategic parameters and an initial plan submitted to Chief Officers in February 2023.
Kent Chief Inspector promotion boards completed in November 2022, followed by Inspector boards in December 2022. The calendar year 2023 has commenced with Deputy Chief Constable assessment process concluding in January 2023, with a subsequent Assistant Chief Constable assessment concluded this month. The national College of Policing exams for Inspectors was held in October, and the National Investigators Exam took place in September and due again in November. During 2023 the College of Policing will be providing two Inspector exams (May and November) and two Sergeant exams (March and October).
A structured ‘Reality of being a police officer’ survey has been developed to gain an understanding of retention issues from our young in service (18 month - 2 year officers). In particular, views on career length expectation, support, training, career opportunity, pay, work life balance, postings and workload. This will be delivered in January 2023 and will become a rolling survey for all new intakes to ensure a regular temperature check on retention issues for our young in service officers.
Plans are undergoing consideration for 2023/24 to ensure the Uplift and Establishment is maintained.
Diversity Application Data and Force Representation
The figures show that between 1st April 2022 and 31st January 2023 the force received a total of 2079 applications. Of the 2079 total applications, 273 applications were from ethnic minority candidates, which equates to 13.13% of all applications. This is higher than the ethnic minority applications in the three previous full financial years and is higher than both the current ethnic minority officer position (3.70% as at 31st January 2023) and the economically active population (6.73%).
With regards to females, of the 2079 application, a total of 813 were from females, which is 39.11% and a higher proportion currently than the three previous full financial years.
The Investigate First Programme continues to attract a high proportion of female applications. Of the 543 Investigate First applications so far in 2022/23, 52.67% were from female candidates. Whilst this is high, it is a reduction when compared to the last three financial years (55.94% in 2021/22, 59.63% in 2020/21 & 61.05% in 2019/20). The proportion of Investigate First applications from Ethnic minority candidates has increased when compared to 2021/22 and is still relatively strong (12.15% of all Investigate First applications).
In respect of the current recruitment pipeline, as of 30th January 2023 there are 506 applications in process. Of the 506 candidates, 206 (40.71%) are female and 55 (10.87%) are ethnic minority. There was an increase in applications in January 2023, with 294 applications received, including 79 in the week commencing 2nd January 2023. Of the 294, there were 38 (12.9%) ethnic minority applications. It should be noted, that whilst the last months data is promising, not all individuals will be successful and there is potential for fall out of process at various stages. However there continues to be no adverse impact on ethnic minority candidates at the stages of the process within the force’s control. This will continue to be monitored at the Strategic Application Assurance Group.
Section 5 provides further information regarding Local and National Work to Promote recruitment.
Force Representation Data: Ethnicity & Gender
As at 31st January 2023, there were 154 (3.62%) ethnic minority officers in force. This is a headcount increase of 5 when compared to the last update as at 31st October 2022 (149) and an increase in proportion of the workforce, of 0.08 percentage points. With regards to female officers, the headcount is currently 1440, which equates to 34.62% and represents the highest ever number and proportion of female officers in force. This has increased when compared to the last update as at 31st October 2022 (1408 / 34.22%).
With regards to recruitment for April to January 2022/23, of the total 473 joiners (all entry routes), 21 were ethnic minority (4.43%) and 189 were female (39.95%).
In terms of new recruits, the January 2023 intake comprised of 141 students, 9 of whom were ethnic minority (6.38%) and 61 were female (43.26%).
Currently (as of week commencing 23rd January 2023) there are 15 ethnic minority individuals in process for the March 2023 intake of 114 (13.16%).
Local & National Work to Promote Recruitment & Retention (including diversity)
It remains necessary to continue to increase the proportion of applications from the widest range of communities. The Positive Action Team and HR Collaboration, known as the Outreach Task Force (OTF) has been active since the 8th November 2021 and will remain in place until the 31st March 2023. The aim of the OTF is to develop and deliver Positive Action and other activities that aim to attract and increase police officer applications from underrepresented groups, with a specific focus on Ethnic minority and female applications.
The below section evidences key activity that has taken place this reporting period (November 2022 – January 2023):
The OTF delivered 47 careers outreach events (34 physical and 13 virtual). This has led to engagement with 1397 individuals, 539 (39%) of which were ethnic minorities and 749 (54%) females.
Key events included –
Recruitment van deployed at least twice a week to diverse high footfall locations to enhance visibility of the Kent Police recruitment messages and offer interaction with police officers to inspire applications.
Engagement session with students from the Elevated Minds (Southwark London) was supported at FHQ to nurture positive interactions between police and minority groups with a visit by the OTF to Southwark planned for February 2023.
Diverse Schools, colleges and universities attended to inspire applicant aged students to consider Kent Police as a career.
OTF supported the Neighbourhood Policing Review seminar held in November to support members of the term in considering opportunities to join as a police officer.
3 application surgeries delivered at Bluewater with the opportunity to pre-book time with the police officers or gain “walk in” advice on application form completion. Additional surgeries are planned until March 2023.
Ethnic minority Positive Action Engagement Programme (PAEP): The programme launched in April 2022 and was designed to attract ethnic minority individuals who were thinking of applying but not ready to. The programme offers 1-2-1 support, guidance, signposting and access to a Senior Interview and Fitness Test workshops prior to application.
As of 30th January 2023, the number of individuals that were reviewed for the membership of the Positive Action Engagement Programme has risen to 79. There are 11 active candidates enrolled in the programme who are receiving support and guidance ready for their application and 5 candidates awaiting review at their initial one to one session. Since the programme has been running, 5 candidates have been reinstated into the recruitment process following contact by Positive Action. Directly from the PAEP Programme membership 2 new candidate applications and 5 candidate reapplications have been achieved.
Recruitment Pipeline: The OTF continues to work with the Corporate Recruitment Team and Business Services, on a weekly basis, to identify any service delivery, process or other issues that could create adverse impact and loss of Ethnic minority police officer candidates from the recruitment pipeline. For this reporting period (November 2022 – January 2023) 50 previously rejected Ethnic minority candidates have been contacted by the OTF and offered post rejection support through the PEAP.
The Positive Action Team (PAT) use Positive Action to inspire, encourage and support officers to take part in progression activities and access available support. Key activities include:
Mentoring: A review of the Forces Mentoring Scheme in May 22 to identified opportunities to attract more diverse mentors, and mentees taking part in the scheme. As a result, new interventions have included the introduction of a monthly mentoring meeting, the development and delivery of a new process to ensure effective and efficient administration of the scheme, enhanced CPD for Mentors and a communication strategy to attract new mentors, and mentees in terms of volume, and diversity.
All Together Better (ATB): On 15th August 2022 the Positive Action Team launched ATB and the new internal Positive Action Insite pages. ATB is a Home Office Uplift Campaign that aims to raise the profile and importance of Positive Action within police forces.
The campaign was promoted via Spotlights, an all-force email, on Yammer and through Positive Action SLT Leads. A Positive Action Quiz, Managers Tool Kit and Positive Action Video were shared. The Positive Action Team also delivered briefing sessions to the forces Positive Action SLT leads and hosted 6 Positive Action virtual events (89 people took part).
The Positive Action Team continue to deliver events including, Discovery Support Event to inspire registration for exams and encourage progression, a series of Positive Action focus groups to discuss barriers to progression. Positive Action Fast Track and High Potential Discovery Event (PC-INSP) to encourage officers to learn more about Fast Track opportunities and dispel the myths and Positive Action and Diversity & Inclusion sessions with new recruits at the Kent Police College. More events are planned.
The campaign is now in its review and consolidation phase, which includes the surveying of the relevant PA SLT representatives to determine how the product was delivered and the learning that has come from that.
PCSO Establishment v Strength
As at the 31st January 2022, the PCSO strength fte was 160.34 which is 175.66 fte under the establishment of 336.00 and is a vacancy factor of 52.28%. Of the 175.66 fte vacancies, 109.29 fte are in the role of District PCSO and 66.37 fte are in specialist PCSO roles.
For information, PCSOs have been subject to the Neighbourhood Policing Review. Consultation commenced on the 23rd November 2022 and concluded on the 22nd January 2023. At the time of writing (6th February 2023), PCSOs have received preference forms that are due back on the 17th February 2023. This will be followed by a desktop selection process with outcomes known by 6th March 2023. The Neighbourhood Policing Model has been approved and will result in the PCSO establishment reducing to 102.50 fte.
The new NHP model is due to launch in June 2023, and the consultation phase has now formally closed. Feedback has been wide and varied, and helped to mould the final model offering, which has been signed off by the DCC. The plans to resource and operationalise the new model are being governed by the monthly NHP Implementation Board, chaired by ACC LP. During this meeting, which is also attended by Unison and the Federation, the current NHP resourcing challenge is explained within each Division and District, with oversight and scrutiny on how LP Commanders are being agile with their existing resource, such as Town Centre Officers, CPTs and DSUs, to flex to meet the statutory responsibilities for NHP.
As the preference packs are received from PCSOs and NHP officers over the next 3 weeks, the force will start mapping likely posting options, which will provide insight into those CSU teams that are over-subscribed or under-subscribed, with the ability to balance teams as we approach the end of March. At that point, following the appeals period, PCSOs and officers will be confirmed in their postings in order that notice period for shift changes can be met.
Attendance and Wellbeing
2022/23 Financial Year to Date (April to October 2022/23)
The breakdown of average days lost per person for April to October for each year from 2016 to 2022.
The figures demonstrate that for April to January 2022/23, the average days lost per person for officers is 7.31. This is higher than the same period in the last four years. However, whilst this has increased, the average days lost per person of 7.31 is lower than the average for this period between 2016 and 2018.
With regards to staff (excluding PCSOs), the average days lost per person is 7.42, which is the lower than the same period in 2021/22 (7.61).
For officers, the graph demonstrates that absence has fluctuated significantly month on month when compared to same months in the previous financial year. Of the 10 months, 4 have actually been lower, however, 6 have been higher, most notably in the months of July (6.14 compared to 4.93) and December (9.00 compared to 7.60).
For staff, the average hours lost per person were higher in the first 4 months of the year compared to the same months in 2022. However, since then, the absence has been lower each month from August through to January when compared to the same period last year. Of note, the average hours lost per person for January (4.01) is the lowest level absence in a single month since Jun 2021 (3.77). Based on the financial year to date so far it is projected the average days lost for 2022/23 will be approximately 8.91, which, if achieved would be lower than the 2021/22 financial year (9.22).
For PCSOs, the average hours lost per person has been higher in all but 2 months so far this financial year to date when compared to the same months in the previous financial year. Positively however, the average hours lost in January 2023 were just 4.01 which is the lowest level since June 2021 (3.77) and lower than 6 of the last 7 positions for the month of January.
Psychological related absence accounts for the highest proportion of payroll hours lost for officers (34.57%), followed by respiratory related absence 21.42%). However, for staff (excluding PCSOs) this position is reversed with respiratory related absence accounting for the highest proportion of payroll hours lost (24.00%) followed by psychological related absence (22.84%). For PCSOs psychological related absence and respiratory related absence equally account for the highest proportion of payroll hours lost (25.01%).
For all employee groups, the highest reason for respiratory absence is predominantly due to COVID-19 related absence (COVID-19, suspected COVID-19, long COVID-19 and COVID vaccine reaction). This accounts for 36.17% of officer respiratory absence, 48.63% of staff respiratory absence and 59.01% of PCSO respiratory absence.
The response to the cost-of-living pressures remains a focus for on-going wellbeing support. As in previous updates, the Financial Wellbeing Hub continues to be updated with new information and a virtual session has been delivered over the course of the year. February 2023 will see a joint session delivered with PSD and March 2023 is scheduled for a further external guest speaker to discuss the current financial climate and include tips and support that is more widely available.
The Occupational Health management referrals to appointment waiting times remain settled with continued monitoring in place in order to review service levels and identify any emerging issues. The post of Occupational Health Adviser Team Leader continues to impact service delivery levels ensuring a more responsive service is delivered. The average financial year referral to appointment waiting times continue to remain static and currently performing at an average of 12.6 working days. It is anticipated this position will continue to improve over the remainder of the financial year, when some of the additional Police Uplift Programme demands on the wider Occupational Health team begin to subside.
The annual flu vaccination programme, in support of winter health, concluded in late 2022. In total, 668 vaccinations have been administered, with a further 248 NHS funded vaccinations administered on site. Of note, where an individual is entitled to a free NHS vaccination, the provider has not been using the ‘purchased’ vaccination, thus extending the reach and cost benefit of this service.
The Health Surveillance team remain focussed on recruitment medicals in support of the Police Officer Uplift Programme and new resources have joined this team in the last period, helping to strengthen the capacity for the recruitment medicals for the final intake cohort under this programme.
Health and Wellbeing Services have developed an innovative clinician’s survey form, in order to capture information about the underlying drivers for referrals to the Occupational Health and Counselling & Wellbeing teams.
The survey form, via Microsoft, provides live time analytical information, which will assist in tailoring the provision of health and wellbeing prevention and treatment initiatives to support the workforce. This is a new initiative with the first data being collated and analysed in early February 2023, and this will subsequently be utilised to inform and direct future activity where patterns and/or trends in referrals themes are identified.
In response to the Peel Assessment and the Headlines of Concern relating to improvements required in the way the force manages the wellbeing of staff involved in investigations and those concerned with protecting vulnerable people, an action plan providing the strategic intention and development the force has undertaken, is in the delivery stage of activity.
The plan seeks to ensure all officers and staff involved in investigative roles have regular wellbeing focused and meaningful engagement from supervisors and managers, enabling early help seeking where necessary and signposting options are well known by all.
In addition, activity to promote the reduction of mental health stigma and becoming more trauma informed will assist the maintenance of the ongoing health and wellbeing of all ranks and grades of officers and staff working within investigations, helping them feel cared for in the most demanding of environments, thus improving the service to victims and witnesses.
The plan has a number of activities delivered at both a local leadership level and by the Health and Wellbeing team, including Virtual Investigator Wellbeing sessions, a Wellbeing Blog and the mandatory attendance of all leaders within investigations at the Leaders’ Programme, which is a full day face-to-face wellbeing session to support both themselves and those they lead.