The issues surrounding separation from the Service for QPS members are complex and numerous. Understandably, most QPS members strongly identify with the policing culture, enjoy the camaraderie of a social support network and experience a status within the community that comes with being a member of a police service.
For many employees, leaving the QPS is not only about leaving a job, but leaving a way of life, an identity, relationships and losing a sense of purpose and meaning. For others it may be one career path amongst many others. Members may experience a range of emotions including relief, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger, excitement, hesitation, sadness and in some cases dread. All these feelings are normal and have been experienced by many former first responders. Research suggests it may require 18 months to make a healthy transition from active duty to civilian life. Typically, it involves refocusing on new interests, maintaining current and creating new connections and finding fulfillment and purpose in other parts of their life.
It is important to understand that retirement is a process as opposed to a one-off event. It is helpful to consider transitioning out of the service as three phases; pre-retirement, during the process and post retirement. Evidence suggests that the better that our members are prepared for retirement, the better that they will adjust to the physical and psychological transition of separating from the Service with increased self-efficacy, satisfaction and well-being. It is also important to have these discussions with your partner and/or family as it also impacts on them.
And whilst there may be circumstances, including age or medical retirement, where the decision to retire is taken out of a police officer’s hands, there are many things to consider and it is imperative to identify what things are within your scope of control and preparedness to optimise the best outcomes and life adjustment.
The Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service wishes to acknowledge your dedicated service to the organisation and community. Your valuable contribution, effort and sacrifice made during your QPS role(s) is sincerely appreciated. On behalf of all QPS members we thank you for working to make the community safer.
QPS is also committed to making a commitment to former employees to provide access to free and confidential counselling support. 1800 ASSIST is an external counselling service available to all retired QPS employees.
Phone 1800 ASSIST (1800 277 478).