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Concern as police force numbers keep falling

13 February 2017

THE POLICE Federation has warned that the police service is continuing to rapidly lose officers after new figures released by the government showed a drop of nearly 21,500 officers since 2009.

The Home Office released the latest Police Workforce figures for the year ending 30 September 2016, which showed:

  • 122,859 police officers, a decrease of 2.2%
  • 60,815 police staff, a decrease of 3.1%.
  • 10,551 PCSOs, a decrease of 10.7%
  • 3,990 designated officers, a decrease of 5.9%
  • 14,864 special constables, a decrease of 7.3%
For the first time, the report also included data on officer age profiles and showed an ageing workforce where 47% of officers were aged between 41 and 55 years old. 
Police Federation chair Steve White described the figures as a “wake-up call”, he said: “The number of officers has been consistently dropping every year for the past seven years. Last year recorded the largest drop in three years. The thin blue line is getting even thinner and it’s wreaking havoc on our members."

“We value our older officers – they bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to the job but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that having an ageing workforce at times when violent crime is up by 24% including a 9% rise in knife crime and 7% rise in gun crime might just persuade more of these officers to consider leaving the service.

"We’ve continually pointed out that these conditions are exacting an enormous toll on the health and welfare of our officers. A police officer is assaulted every 22 minutes – that’s 64 a day. No wonder they are either leaving in droves or having to take sick and stress leave.”