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Voluntary resignations from the police service: the impact of organisational and occupational stressors on organisational commitment

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The numbers of police officers in England and Wales who resigned voluntarily from the service have been increasing rapidly in recent years. Despite this, there has been scant attention paid to this issue academically or organisationally. Using the guiding framework of organisational commitment with its focus upon active institutional identification, this paper considers police officer decisions to resign voluntarily from the police service. It does this through an analysis of a survey distributed to police officers from one English force who had resigned voluntarily between November 2014 and June 2019. The findings demonstrate that resigning police officers highly value the occupation they have joined, the nature of their work, the opportunities for fulfilling public service ambitions and the satisfaction of working with policing colleagues as part of a team. The findings also indicate however that they are ultimately frustrated by the perceived inability of the organisation to manage the demands upon them and by a sense of organisational ‘injustice’ emanating from perceptions of a lack of ‘voice’, leadership, autonomy and support. This damages the exchange-based working relationship between officers and managers, causing a decline in affective organisational commitment. Consequently, these factors have a negative personal impact upon their physical and mental health and an impact upon their caring responsibilities and personal relationships outside of their working environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPolicing and Society
Early online date28 Feb 2021
Publication statusEarly online - 28 Feb 2021


  • Voluntary resignations

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy on 28.02.2021, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 386 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 28/08/22

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