No. of police officers quitting up 46% in 4 yearsBy Park Jun-hee
Published : June 11, 2023 - 14:11
While being a police officer has long been considered a job for life in South Korea, an increasing number of officers are leaving the force, citing fatigue from work and difficulties in dealing with the community, data showed Sunday.
According to data submitted by the Korean National Police Agency to Rep. Chung Woo-taik of the ruling People Power Party, 3,543 police officers quit their jobs last year, a 46.3 percent increase from 2,421 in 2018. In 2019, the police force saw 2,305 officers resign, followed by 2,509 in 2020 and 3,048 in 2021.
Coping with civil complaints and reports filed to police, along with a low salary were cited as main contributing factors to the growing number of resignations.
The data showed that many incumbent officers are coping with mental stress after being assaulted by drunk people. Legal suits involving obstruction of justice have also increased, reportedly also causing distress for police officers as they await the court's verdict.
The number of police officers taking a leave of absence also soared from 2,713 in 2018 to 4,686 in 2022, increasing by 72.7 percent in four years. Previously, 3,305 police officers took time off in 2019, with 3,723 in 2020 and 4,014 in 2021.
Meanwhile, the number of retirements among senior inspectors increased from 945 in 2018 to 2,400 last year. The number of retirements among police officers, senior police officers and assistant inspectors also surged from 126 to 177 in the same period, raising concerns about the aging of the country’s police departments.
Rep. Chung stressed that the police chief should identify whether there is a link between working conditions and resignations to grapple with the issue, calling for improved conditions for officers.
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