People who have left policing to start a family or to care for a relative or friend are being offered the chance to return to police work.

A pilot project being trialled in nine police forces in England and Wales is intended to give those who have left the police for care-giving reasons the necessary skills, training and confidence to return to policing.

Running between April 2019 and March 2020, the Return to Investigative Practice (RTIP) initiative is being managed by the College of Policing and is receiving funding of £110,000 from the Government Equalities Office (GEO) to explore the best ways to support returners.

The involvement of the GEO highlights the fact that 90% of potential returners to work are women.

In 2018, police forces across England reported that they had 17% fewer investigators than they needed. Since 2014/15, however, only 188 full-time earners have re-joined the police in England and Wales after taking time off to act as a care-giver or to start a family.

Announcing the initiative, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, said that it aims to ensure that women have the freedom and support to balance work and caring responsibilities effectively — so that they can return to work when they are ready.

The RTIP project provides an excellent opportunity to create an evidence base of what works in attracting and retaining people so that their policing skills are not lost permanently, the College of Policing’s Stuart Durrant agreed.

The nine forces participating in the project are: City of London, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Kent, South Wales, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley.

Further information about the scheme, including how to register interest, is available at

Last reviewed 14 March 2019