Between April 2022 and October 2022, a total of 322 officers joined the force (all entry routes). The October intake of 124 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.
Whilst the recruitment ambition remains achievable, continued progress carries significant risk in terms of external influences, namely public and media perception of policing, the buoyant and unstable recruitment market and the activities of the Metropolitan Police aimed at increasing recruitment in the local area and increasing transfers from other forces.Based on the latest uplift data as at 30th September 2022, there were 83 outbound transferee applications, of which 61 were to the Metropolitan Police. However, 29 of the 83 (all to the Metropolitan Police) are for the 2023/24 financial year. These create a significant recruitment threat. 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. This includes, but is not limited to:
Optimising specialist Job Board applications through a Media Marketing Agency (Refer to marketing proposal) to go live week commencing the 7th November.
Significant investment in the #MoreThanTheBadge campaign
Introduction of new joiner and transferee referral schemes
Website reconfiguration to allow ease of access for the candidate
Optional pre-engagement access for candidates that are ‘not sure yet’ about applying.
Developing the Applicant Tracking System (Success Factors), commissioning work to create single point application process for quick application/easy apply stage one.
Outreach Events drive to continue and enhance with updated advertising, collateral, influential speakers/officers’ attendance, and full refresher training for all. This includes Recruitment Ambassadors, & Positive action/Recruitment team to continue at pace.
Withdrawal review 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), already gained success with the first intake in October. A following 2 intakes of up to 60 people joining via this route until 31st March 2023, to provide another pipeline of applicants, for whom the PEQF may not be viable.
The Corporate Communications team have developed an information campaign ‘Keep it Kent’, aimed at promoting the benefits of working in Kent Police.
The new ‘leaving the organisation’ process is now fully embedded. This allows anybody thinking of leaving the option to contact HR for support and guidance, particularly if they are not comfortable discussing their concerns with their line manager. In addition to this, Support Intervention Meetings are now in place, which aim to make the earliest possible interventions, to ensure any appropriate retention opportunities are explored and people are supported professionally and with dignity through the process.
Introduction of a transferee intervention process. Where the force is made aware of a transferee application out of force (identified via vetting / PSD), HR are made aware and the SLT of that Command is contacted so that an intervention can be make.
Posting Swap Initiative (implemented August 2022). Officers will be able to request a posting ‘swap’ with others, to enhance their work-life balance. Starting with officers, HR have developed a Yammer page to facilitate this process, which will allow officers to seek potential ‘swap’ candidates within certain parameters. At the time of writing, a total of 7 eligible officers have requested a swap from their colleagues. The process of ‘swapping’ has also influenced a recent example of a probationer with a young family who had a move agreed which significantly reduced travel time and cost as well as improving their work life balance.
Promotion and Career Development Opportunities. The force concluded Sergeants boards in September 2022, with Chief Inspector boards commencing in October 2022, conclusion on 4th November and Inspector boards commencing in November 2022. Promotion processes for 2023 are being scheduled based on resourcing requirements, with the annual plan to be presented to Chief Officers shortly. 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). For staff the force is currently considering the next round of the Police Staff Leadership Pathway and the opportunity for Cambridge Masters.