26 January 2022
The Government’s Police Uplift Programme does not go far enough to help police officers protect the communities they serve.
The Police Federation of England and Wales has aired the concerns as the Home Office published its quarterly uplift statistics which revealed there were 139,939 officers in England and Wales as of 31 December 2021 - an increase of 11,505 officers.
11,048 have been recruited from funding for the Police Uplift Programme and contributed towards the target of 20,000 by March 2023 – 55 per cent of the target.
If the 20,000 target is achieved, it would bring officer numbers up to around 148,000, which is slightly above the number of officers in 2010.
In 2010 there was an estimated 55.6 million people in England and Wales, today this figure stands at 59.5 million, meaning police officers are doing their best to protect at least 4 million more members of the public.
It demonstrates how recruitment levels have not kept pace with the expanding population.
National Vice-chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales Ché Donald, commented: “We welcome the increase in officer numbers as it is desperately needed and something we lobbied the Government over for many years, having seen rising levels of crime following their reckless cuts to officer numbers.
“However, the current uplift programme to recruit 20,000 additional officers - which is now only halfway there - doesn’t go far enough, as it simply replaces the number of police officers lost during the years of austerity.
“Not only do we have an exponentially expanding population which has grown by 4 million in the last decade, but the level of crime has increased and become far more complex. In addition, the time officers spend dealing with non-crime issues, such as helping vulnerable people and those in mental health crises, has also risen.
“We need long-term recruitment and sustainable funding in policing, and police leaders must ensure they don’t just focus on getting people through the door, but also do what is needed to retain them, such fair pay processes, investment in wellbeing and better benefits, as retention is still a problem across the service.
“Forces must also ensure new recruits are given the most appropriate integrated learning that equips them for the reality of policing. These officers are joining after a period when the infrastructure of policing around training and assessments was similarly decimated, and we aren’t sure that forces have shaped themselves to deal with the influx of officers. We need quality not just quantity to ensure the public gets the best service we can provide.”