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Welsh forces faring well with Uplift Programme but retention remains an issue, says Welsh lead

31 October 2022

New data shows there are now 7,815 police officers in Wales, an increase of 850 since the launch of the Government’s Uplift programme.

The figures have been welcomed by Nicky Ryan, the Police Federation’s Welsh lead, but she said there remains a number of issues facing Forces including retention and training.

According to the Home Office figures an additional 850 officers have been recruited to the four forces in Wales since the Uplift programme began.

The forces need to recruit another 155 officers to meet their allocation of 1,005 when the programme ends in March.

Nicky said: “We welcome our new recruits to the policing family in Wales, many of whom are already on the ground and making a difference in their force areas and in their communities.

“But this only the start. We’re only making up the numbers we’ve lost since 2011 and not increasing our frontline officers while the population has grown and more is being asked of us.

“And we’ve lost a massive amount of experience. Some 75 per cent of our workforce has fewer than five years’ experience.

“So we need investment in our new recruits to ensure they receive high-quality training to equip them for the demands of modern policing. It is critical that we prioritise their health and wellbeing to ensure they see policing as a career in which they are valued and cared for so they want to stay within the police service.

“We need to look at the current entry programme, which is putting additional pressure on young officers who have to balance policing with their university work, and whether it’s relevant for everyone. It’s about working with the forces and getting that balance right. 

“We also need training for their supervisors to ensure they have the right skillset and the confidence to be a supportive line manager. We are asking line managers to be all things to all people.

“And we need investment in pay and conditions to ensure that officers feel properly rewarded for their work and properly supported in their roles.

“What we don’t need is talk of a return to austerity and massive cuts to services. That would be a disaster for policing and for the people of Wales.”

The Home Office figures show that nationally 15,343 Uplift officers have been recruited to September. The target is 20,000 officers.

The figures reveal there are now more female police officers than ever before with 50,364 women in the 43 police forces making up 34.9 per cent of the overall workforce.

Addressing this breakthrough, Nicky explained: “As an organisation, policing needs to adapt so these officers have the support and flexibility they need to manage a busy stressful role often with caring responsibilities.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “As Home Secretary my first priority is to protect the British public from harm and I am absolutely steadfast in my determination to drive down crime.

“That’s why I am delighted the Government is on track to deliver 20,000 additional police officers by March 2023, with 15,343 already recruited to bring criminals to justice.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for forces to become more representative of the communities they serve and I am heartened to see there are now over 50,000 women in forces across England and Wales for the first time.

“With the extra officers recruited I want to continue to see forces doubling down on tackling murder, serious violence and neighbourhood crimes which tear communities apart.”