One of the more popular questions I get asked is why we have to move so much? Having lived in 5 towns in 5 years I can certainly see why. 🙂 Due to exceptional circumstances, we have moved a LOT but the usual tenure for stations is 2-4 years. We are required to stay a minimum of 2 years in a town as it costs a lot to move the officer and their family and after 4 years you are told to hustle on. You can break the two year minimum for promotion, as they usually dont like you to be promoted within your existing station, or you can leave before the 2 years is up in extenuating circumstances, such was our last move. But generally when you relocate to a regional station you know your time there will most probably be 2-4 years.
The other part of this question is why does tenure exist? What is it there for? Why do they make you move and disrupt your family? The short answer is that we arent supposed to get too comfortable in our town. Being comfortable can lead to complacency. We arent supposed to be too friendly with the locals as it is feared that the job of policing is made far more difficult when you are expected to police your friends. Familiarity can lead to potential corruption and it is thought by the upper establishment that if you make friends in your town, you are less likely to issue tickets etc if they are pulled over. Locals may expect their mate Sergeant Smith to let them off a speeding ticket if they had dinner with them down at the pub last week. This can be particularly true in such a small town. I am certainly not saying that this happens, but I can can see why it could be assumed. Its a catch-22. Police need to be friendly with the locals to gain their confidence and glean community information but they arent encouraged to actually be friends with them. Not that it has ever been officially said like that, but it is certainly how it feels.
Normally in country towns there are quite a few other police families to socialise with and take the social pressure off, but down here there is only one. We will really have to make more of an effort to try to find “our people” down here and get out more. Friends who understand and accept the consequences of Mr Point Fives job are very hard to find. And then when it takes four years to find them, you have to leave them!