24 April 2023
Police officer numbers will reach the highest levels in history when new figures are announced later this week, according to policing minister Chris Philp.
Mr Philp told GMB last week he was confident that records would be broken when the latest data is published on Wednesday (26 April).
The latest available Home Office figures show there were 2,150 police officers serving in Derbyshire at the end of 2022 compared with 1,918 the year before.
Much of the increase was driven by officers recruited through the Government’s three-year Police Uplift Programme which aimed to bring in an additional 20,000 officers across England and Wales by the end of March this year.
Speaking ahead of this week’s announcement, Mr Philp said: “I am confident it will show that we will have record numbers of police - more police than we have ever had at any point in the history of England and Wales.
“The previous high point was in March 2010 when there were about 145,000 police officers in England and Wales and I am expectantly confident that when the figures are published next week we will have comfortably exceeded that previous high point.”
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton said: “When the figures are released they will show Derbyshire Police has roughly the same amount of officers as it did in 2010 before the funding cuts.
“Obviously we welcome the fact that officer numbers have gone up but in reality the Police Uplift Programme has effectively brought us back to where we were 13 years ago.”
“The challenge the Force now faces is keeping hold of those new recruits and that means properly investing in training, equipment and uniform and it means making young officers feel valued and respected. It is also crucial that the experienced officers who are supporting and developing those new recruits are also properly looked after and retained.
“Those officers are the ones who have seen their real-terms wages cut by 17 per cent according to the recent research carried out by independent think tank The Social Market Foundation. That devastating cut in wages needs addressing, as does the lack of a fair system of pay negotiation which recognises the unique nature of policing and the lack of any industrial rights.
“It is not good enough, after well over a decade in charge, for this Government to continue to use the excuse of the economic position it inherited. It must treat officers fairly and with respect for the unique job that they do – and that starts with paying them properly.”
Mr Philp refused to speculate on the precise figure expected to be unveiled next week but insisted the number of officers in England and Wales would be “some margin higher, some thousands higher”.
The minister blamed previous administrations when confronted with evidence that police numbers went down by more than 20,000 between 2010 and 2017 when, according to the Home Office, there were just 121,929 officers.
He said: “The reason police officer numbers fell in the years immediately after 2010 - and there were spending constraints in other public services as well - is because the outgoing Labour government left the country essentially bankrupt and George Osborne had to take difficult decisions to put it back in order.
“Since we have managed to get the economy into better shape, we have been able to fund additional police officers to make up for not just those who were unfortunately reduced, but we are going to go beyond that and have more officers than we had in 2010.”