Earlier this month I was invited by the owner of Police Resettlement Magazine, James Atkins, to attend and join him on his stand at the Police Resettlement Expo in Manchester. During the day at this event, many current and ex-police officers came up to our Leaving the Police stand and stated that they had either very recently retired or are very soon to retire. What surprised me most of all is that the majority of these talented people didn’t have a plan in place for a career outside of policing.

It appeared to me that procrastination is alive and well and even though we have all been taught the value of using the National Decision Model for almost any operational policing scenario, we haven’t then gone on to use that same model to help us make choices in life after policing. It really does work, especially if you put your own and your family’s personal values at the centre of any decision that you come to for your future career.

Gathering all the information and intelligence can be a bit time consuming but it is worth it. What sort of job roles do you think you’re suited for? Do you have a hobby or an outside interest that could earn you some money if you were to look at this from a business perspective? What information is contained in the job descriptions for those roles that you are interested in? Once you’ve gathered all the information you are then in a more informed position to look at the next step in the model.

The threats and the risks may not be as easy to spot when job hunting or looking to set up your own business. There are of course many out there. Things you need to look out for should include a review of the required academic qualifications for the role. Do you have the requisite security clearances in place? Are you taking the job just for the money and after a few months you’ll be looking for something new? This is one of the biggest risks in our view. Is there a risk that you’ll be a square peg in a round hole?

In the decision-making model you were asked to consider powers and policy. We would recommend that this is the point where you should check the job’s terms and conditions and ensure that you are content with these. What legal barriers are in place that you will need to overcome? Does the job role specify what the employer will do for you? Are your personal expectations going to be met if you take on this new role? If running your own business for the first time, do you have all the legal parameters covered including registration with Company’s House, the Information Commissioner’s Office, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Banking, Payroll, various legislative policies in place (e.g. the dreaded GDPR!).

Once you have thought through all the above and irrespective of whether you’re going to apply for a role as an employee or to start your own business, you need to identify your options and set down some contingencies if your first choice doesn’t come to fruition. We would advise that you set yourself a list of priorities in terms of what you want to do and where you want to do it. You may also wish to think about prioritising your professional worth. Do not underestimate the fact that during your police career you have attained many skills and competences which are much sought after out there in the world of commerce. Make sure that you take on a role that pays you what you think you are worth.

The action on ‘spinning the wheel’ of decision making is to ‘take action’. You need to have a professional CV in place, be prepared for interviews, take away any feedback from unsuccessful interviews and work on this for getting it right next time. Unfortunately, it’s this last part of the model that seems to generate lots of procrastination. It’s the elephant in the room that many are loath to tackle. Our advice is that you should speak to someone that has left policing before you and hopefully they will be able to provide some expert guidance or advice. You may also wish to take on a coach or mentor who can do something very similar with and for you.

At Leaving the Police we are also running 1-day workshops where this information and additional assistance to help you plan for your future can be found in one place. Our inaugural workshop is in North London on Wednesday 18th July and we will be bringing in experts to cover all eventualities. You will meet colleagues who all want to move seamlessly on to a new career, whatever that might look like. More information and a booking form can be found at https://bit.ly/2JOgE1U

Rob Hoblin, Leaving the Police