'Should I stay or should I go?' : Retirement age triggers of sworn members of the Queensland Police Service entitled to access voluntary retirement at age fifty-five

Marcus, Benjamin Roland Derek (2007) 'Should I stay or should I go?' : Retirement age triggers of sworn members of the Queensland Police Service entitled to access voluntary retirement at age fifty-five. Professional Doctorate thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


At the time this study was conducted, Queensland police officers were offered a five year age range in which retirement was possible. These officers were permitted to retire from age 55 and were forced to retire at age 60. The Queensland Police Service had previously identified that only 13% of all police officers were staying in their employment until the mandatory retirement age of 60. Retirement of these officers at the earliest possible opportunity presented a considerable loss of human resource investment. This study was undertaken to investigate some possible triggers influencing the decision to retire.

Three specific research questions associated with the retirement intentions of Queensland police officers of the baby-boomer generation were formulated and subsequently investigated. These questions were:

  • How do the demographic characteristics of individual police officers relate to their retirement intentions?

  • What are the triggers that are associated with the retirement age intentions of baby-boomer police officers in Queensland? and,

  • How are these triggers associated with officers' intentions to retire earlier or later?

While considerable work had been previously done on retirement triggers, the issue of police retirement triggers is under-researched. The situation was further compounded by the fact that the major study of police retirement was American, with retirement in that system based on years of service, and not age as in Australia. A list of possible retirement triggers was compiled from the literature and then focus groups of Queensland police officers were used to discuss some aspects of these possible retirement triggers and generate others that were specific to the Queensland Police Service. The study obtained the views of 641 members of the cohort through a questionnaire and utilised a quantitative research methodology to achieve findings.

Demographic aspects showed little overall influence on an officer's retirement age decision. The demographic items that did have a direct association with retirement intentions were gender, length of service, and the method of admission to the organisation. Female officers, officers with the greatest length of service and those admitted to the organisation as Cadets were more likely to seek earlier retirement, that is retirement at or soon after age fifty-five. Whilst not conclusive, the education level of the individual indicated a trend towards later retirement for those with higher levels of education. Importantly, operational status, shift worker status, rank, and qualification for promotion had no association with the retirement decision.

A factor analysis of the questionnaire items used in the study identified five factors, of which four contributed significantly to a police officer's retirement timing decision at the later end of the retirement window spectrum. These factors were 'appropriateness', 'worth and belonging', 'influences and relationships' and 'financial' issues. A fifth factor 'flexibility' was also determined but found to have no statistical significance.

Three recommendations were made from this study: the formation of a Queensland Police Service alumni; the adoption of a n employment re-engagement policy called 'procruiting'; and the introduction of an assisted retirement education package for exiting members.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

2,641 since deposited on 03 Dec 2008
220 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 16554
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Supervisor: Millwater, Jan & Delahaye, Brian
Keywords: police, retirement, triggers, intentions, baby-boomer, transition, voluntary, mandatory, police recruiting, procruiting
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Benjamin Roland Derek Marcus
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:05
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:41

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page