Officer recruitment drive well on track, says Police Federation National Chair
National Chair says stats show encouraging levels of interest despite negative reporting
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) welcomes the news that 22 per cent of the 20,000-officer target has already been recruited.
The figure comes from a quarterly update from the Home Office on the officer uplift promised by the Conservatives after the 2019 General Election. The report, released today, shows the largest annual increase in officer numbers since 2003/04.
Of the 4,659 officers who have joined the force since the last recording period, 4,336 have been recruited from funding for the Police Uplift programme and contribute towards the target of 20,000 by March 2023. In addition, 89,950 applications to become a police officer have been received since October 2019.
Welcoming the progress, PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “This increase in officers was desperately needed.
“There was cynicism in some quarters about whether the numbers set by the government could be met, and it is tremendously encouraging to see a growing interest in joining the force.
“This interest is despite some of the very negative reporting that has formed the news cycle lately, and I’m glad these biased and horrible reports have not put people off joining what is an immensely challenging but very rewarding career.
“However, as important as recruitment of new officers is, the retention of those we have is just as important. Experienced officers are leaving policing for a variety of reasons, more must be done to ensure we don’t lose that valuable experience."
The report also contained statistics on the gender and ethnicity of officers for the first time, providing valuable insight into the makeup of the 43 forces at a time when policing’s relationship to minority communities is under intense scrutiny.
Of the 133,131 officers in post on 30 June 2020, 7.4 per cent (9,562 officers) self-defined their ethnicity as Black or Black British, Asian or Asian British, Mixed or multiple ethnic groups, or other ethnic group.
Of these officers, 43 per cent identified as Asian, 29 per cent as Mixed, 17 per cent as Black, and the remaining 11 per cent as Other. The ethnicity of the officer was not known in 1.6 per cent of cases.
As at 30 June 2020 there were 43,638 female officers in the 43 territorial police forces, making up a third of all officers (33 per cent).
Mr Apter continued: “We must be relentless in reflecting the communities we police – for the first time we have statistics as part of this report showing where we are improving and, more importantly, where we still need to make a change.”