Project code



School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Start dates

October 2021

Closing date

4 May 2021

Applications are invited for a fees-only three year PhD to commence in October 2021. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and will be supervised by Dr Sarah Charman, Dr Jemma Tyson and Dr John Fox

Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees at the UK rate for three years and £2,000 for research costs/ conference attendance. 

By working on this project you will:

  • Conduct research on a ground-breaking national study examining the growing number of voluntary resignations from the police service. 
  • Benefit from the extensive knowledge, experience and networks of the supervisory team while simultaneously having the opportunity to showcase your cutting-edge policing research.
  • Acquire doctoral programme training, teaching and publication experience plus the opportunity to work with a national policing body contributing to both your acquired and transferable skills. 

The aim of this PhD research is to assess the decisions of police officers to voluntarily resign from the police service. There is currently a scarcity of contemporary academic literature which examines this issue despite a growing number of voluntary resignations within the police service, particularly in England and Wales.  Your PhD project will more fully understand and appreciate the pressures of the policing working environment, the changing nature of crime and policing and the impact of these issues upon the wellbeing and job satisfaction of police officers.  Your research would also contribute in an original way to the growing literature on organisational commitment and the increasing research evidence which considers employees wellbeing. 

You will have the opportunity to work on this ground-breaking national study which will shine a light not only on the individual reasons for leaving the police organisation but the impact of the changing nature of crime and the impact of a reduced public sector upon the health and wellbeing of the key public facing members of the criminal justice system. Your PhD project will use interviews to allow respondents to express their detailed views and lived experiences plus policy analysis in order to better understand the values and political contexts which have underpinned decisions about officer retention, career breaks and resignations. Importantly, your research will also enable police forces and policy makers to have the research evidence required to make important decisions about the nature of police recruitment and training, promotions policy, part-time working, return to work and equal opportunities within the service.

Your PhD project will enhance the links between the University of Portsmouth and a number of national policing bodies. You would be expected to publish short research blogs and showcase your research at national and international conferences during your funding period. 

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sarah Charman ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ICJS6100521 when applying.