Laura Beal seen on the cover of the force's annual report
Devon and Cornwall Police
An experienced police officer who was the "poster girl" for one of the UK's largest forces has quit her job citing fears for her safety and health.
Laura Beal quit her job as an officer at Devon and Cornwall police after 13 years on the force. In her resignation letter, which has since been shared thousands of times on Facebook, she states inadequate staffing has left it almost impossible to do the job to the best of her ability.
Beal – who featured on the force's advertising campaigns and marketing materials – added the pressures of the job in recent years have now left her suffering from anxiety, depression and stress.
Read Laura Beal's resignation letter to Devon and Cornwall Police in full
To Chief Constable Shaun SAWYER,
I am Police Constable 6552 Laura BEAL on Response covering MID-DEVON and I am writing this to you to inform you that as of this date; Tuesday 28th February 2017 I am resigning my post as Police Constable.
This will be my 13th year as a Police Constable as this has been my life since I was 19 years old. I am sure that what I am about to say will not be knew information to you, but I feel I owe it to myself and my colleagues to tell you my reasons for leaving.
I joined in 2004 having followed in my father's footsteps and was so proud to call myself a Police Officer, however as my career has progressed the total lack of support both governmental and from the Chief Officer Group has made me lose all faith in the job I loved.
I am expected to go on patrol covering MID-DEVON with one other officer most days and this is meant to be adequate staffing and safe. How this can be acceptable is beyond belief. I have always worked to the best of my ability as I had pride in what I did. This however is not possible any more.
As a result of the way I have been treated within this organisation I have to undergo Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as I now suffer with anxiety, depression and stress. I would rather take the massive pay cut and quit than spend one day longer in a job that is making me ill.
I am and was a good Police Officer and you are losing more and more every day, only to be replaced by new recruits who have little to no people skills however are able to answer exams effectively. I have seen Police Officers who are completely incompetent get promoted because it's been too difficult for higher management to manage them so promoting them and moving them is the easy option. I have also seen incredible supervisors in their roles be moved because a space needed filling.
I am sure you have bigger and more important things to be doing than listen to what seems to be a standard resignation letter from an upset employee, but I implore you to please hear this;
Your staff are not coping, and are suffering because there is no one looking out for them. Please take it from someone who has been personally affected and has been so low she has wondered what the point of it all is, and only through her friends and family been able to see that there is more to life than Policing. Front line response is where you need to focus your time and money. This is where the buck stops. We are always called upon when things need doing and when things go wrong in every department.
I was one of the lucky ones and have had the personal support at home to get out however there are so many that are unable to do so because they are either alone or financially dependent on the organisation.
We are more like a business now in how we function in relation to finance and 'customer' relations, yet we are so far behind on employee rights.
I am leaving before this job kills me both physically and mentally. I am not only sad because I see what is potentially an amazing career get ruined by hypocrisy and lack of funding; but also because I know I am not the only one going through this and not everyone that needs the help and support will be as lucky as I am to be able to leave.
I have so many I people I love still in the job and I want so much for their lives to get better and you have the power to make that possible. It is your responsibility to make this right; the front line needs more officers, leadership and managerial support.