30 April 2021
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has reacted to new figures released by the Home Office which showed 8,771 officers were recruited during the first full year of the Police Uplift Programme.
Between March 2010 and March 2018, police forces in England and Wales lost 21,732 officers due to austerity measures introduced by the then Government. The officers recruited over the last year as a result of the uplift will go towards making up just under half that number.
Reacting to the figures, National Chair John Apter said, “These first-year uplift recruitment figures are a good start towards bringing us back to pre-austerity numbers after decades of harsh cuts, but policing is far from having the numbers of officers needed to be able to police in the way we want to.
“Added to this, the COVID-19 pandemic has put policing under more pressure than ever. With an increasing population, the goal for the Government should not just to be to make up the numbers to replace the officers we have lost to austerity, but to instead, exceed this target so my colleagues have the resilience they need to serve the public effectively in the way they deserve.”
Reacting to the uplift figures, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse added: “An increase of 8,771 officers is a great achievement, and I want to thank forces for their considerable efforts to help us exceed our target for the first year of the recruitment campaign.
“It is fantastic that our police forces are now more diverse than ever before, but we know there is still more work to do to on this front – I will continue working with police leaders to ensure our forces are truly representative of the communities they serve.”
The figures showed a combined workforce of 137,704 officers, and this included the highest number of female (45,996) and minority ethnic (10,218) officers in England and Wales since records began.
The news comes as the Federation urged forces to make use of tax breaks which exempt firms and public sector bodies that employ military veterans from paying National Insurance contributions during the first 12 months of their employment.
Mr Apter concluded: “Although the recruitment drive is much needed, the retention of experienced officers is just as important. More must be done to stop the ever-increasing numbers of experienced officers from leaving midway through their service. The drain of experienced officers is a significant risk for policing”.