Gen Z police recruits 'won't work weekends', as bosses warned officers need 'intimate time' and afternoon naps

23 May 2024, 09:14 | Updated: 23 May 2024, 09:19

File photo of police officers
File photo of police officers. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Police bosses have been warned that many young recruits won't want to work on the weekends or overtime, and will want time off for "intimate" moments and naps.

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Chief Superintendent Rob Hay, the president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS), told a conference held by the group for its hundredth anniversary that police must change their ways to attract younger officers.

Mr Hay said that members of Gen Z - usually classified as people born after 1997 - have a "different expectation" about working life.

Police need to "understand how we can adapt" to these demands, he added.

"The young people don’t want to come in and work overtime, they want their weekends off, they aren’t like Gen X that came in before them," he told police bosses, according to the Times.

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Superintendent Sara Crane of Devon and Cornwall Police said that the "younger generation expect flexibility", and that she had "seen recruits drop out because they weren’t supported".

During a later session at the same conference, police were told that if they were tired, they should ask for "intimate time" with partners, and "power naps".

Sussex Police dance to YMCA during the annual Brighton Pride Parade
Sussex Police dance to YMCA during the annual Brighton Pride Parade. Picture: Alamy

'Sleep evangelist' Dr Sophie Bostock said that "senior police are running on about 50 per cent energy levels on average", based on a survey of conference attendees.

Dr Bostock also said that yoga, meditation, cold-water swimming and progressive muscle relaxation.

Police Scotland officers during a recent protest by pro-Palestine campaigners
Police Scotland officers during a recent protest by pro-Palestine campaigners. Picture: Alamy

The doctor, who has worked with the police for three years, said: “I hear from [officers] all the time that they need the stress, by all means turn on the cortisol tap if it works but ensure you also know how to turn it off."

She said that writing a journal or repeating the word 'the' in their heads could help officers fall asleep.

It comes as Police Scotland faces a shortfall in officers, with its lowest staffing level in 16 years. Mr Hay said the force was "woefully under-resourced".

He said that the police needed to fix its image to help boost officer numbers.

Community police officer with police officer
Community police officer with police officer. Picture: Alamy

“We need to put police in a positive light if we want to attract people. Why would anyone want to join when they are told again and again about misogyny?

“The government has to realise this and invest more. We don’t want to fail, we don’t want to say we don’t have enough police officers, [but] we need to start saying we don’t have enough money."

Mr Hay added: "The thought of having 59-year-old officers on frontline doesn’t sound like much of the basis of a sustainable service to me. Or, it will lead to a much higher turnover."

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