PC quits over police staffing levels, saying job makes her ill

Russell Hope, News Reporter

A police officer has quit her job, posting a letter on social media telling senior officers chronic under-staffing is making her ill.

Laura Beal, who joined the service at 19 and has appeared on posters for Devon and Cornwall Police, is quitting the force after 13 years.

She told Sky News: "The stress of it is too much, there's not enough of us out there to police the area that we're supposed to be policing and what they're asking us to do on a day-to-day basis is physically impossible.

"So many people are at breaking point but due to the fact that the police officers I've worked with are so professional, they keep it going, they keep the wheel on.

"We're human beings first and foremost, we're not numbers, and if you keep putting that pressure on, we're going to pop.

"It's all well and good doing wellness programmes, but when there's not enough of us, you're shutting the door once the horse has bolted. You need more people."

Ms Beal's resignation comes on the day the official police watchdog warned victims are being let down, criminal cases shelved and suspects left untracked due to a "national crisis" in policing, which it claimed was in a "potentially perilous" state.

Lamenting the large number of senior officers who have left the force, Ms Beal said: "You're looking at police officers with two or three years' service as being the most experienced in some sections."

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Asked what she wanted her superiors to do to remedy the situation, Ms Beal suggested they start to "put people first" and get a proper grasp of the pressure officers face every day.

She urged senior officers to "pop in" rather than setting up organised visits.

"Pop in on a Saturday night when there's just two of us stood outside of a nightclub," she said. "Come and do a whole shift, a whole weekend, and see what it's really like."

Ms Beal posted her resignation letter, addressed to the force's chief constable Shaun Sawyer, on Facebook.

In it she wrote she had to quit before the job "kills me both physically and mentally".

In a statement, Devon commander Chief Superintendent Jim Colwell said he sympathised with Ms Beal's complaints and said the force is recruiting nearly 100 extra officers to help with under-staffing.

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