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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-officer-uplift-quarterly-update-to-march-2021/police-officer-uplift-england-and-wales-quarterly-update-to-31-march-2021
Frequency of release: Quarterly
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Home Office responsible statistician: John Flatley
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This release contains information on progress towards the recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales by March 2023.
137,704 officers provisional headcount as at 31 March 2021
+8,771 (of +20,000 by March 2023) provisional uplift figure as at 31 March 2021
- provisional data show that there were 137,704 officers in the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales as at 31 March 2021
- this is an increase of 9,270 officers on the adjusted baseline of 128,434. Of these additional officers:
- 8,771 had been recruited from funding for the Police Uplift programme and contribute towards the target of 20,000 by March 2023 (7% above the baseline)
- a further 499 additional officers had been recruited through other funding streams (such as from local council tax precept)
Figure 1: Officers recruited into uplift
- all 43 territorial forces in England and Wales met or exceeded police uplift allocations set in year ending March 2021
- since April 2020, more than four in ten new recruits (42%) have been female and 10.6% (who stated their ethnicity) identified as belonging to a minority ethnic group
- 139,312 applications to become a police officer have been received since October 2019
A manifesto commitment of the current Government was a pledge to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales by 31 March 2023. This release provides information on progress towards the recruitment of these officers and data are provided for each territorial police force in England and Wales on a monthly basis. Furthermore, this release also contains information on the gender and ethnicity of police officers in post as at 31 March 2021, and of new recruits since April 2020.
The guidance issued to forces for the collection of police uplift data matches that issued for the existing statistical series ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’, which is published on a biannual basis.
Though data in this bulletin are released as official statistics, they have not yet been assessed for designation as National Statistics[footnote 1] by the Office for Statistics Regulation .
While this release provides a provisional quarterly update on the number of police officers (headcount) in England and Wales, it is not intended to replace the long running statistical series ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’, which also contains information on other police workers. The data released in the biannual ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ have been designated as National Statistics[footnote 1], and users are therefore encouraged to use those data to analyse police numbers. The biannual release provides a snapshot of officer numbers on both a full-time equivalent (FTE) and headcount basis as at 31 March and 30 September each year, as well as more detailed breakdowns on joiners and leavers.
Police workforce, England and Wales
Frequency of release: Biannually (July and January)
Period covered: Data at 31-Mar and 30-Sept each year
Workforce covered: Police forces in England and Wales, British Transport Police, and National Crime Agency
Measurement: FTE and headcount
Police officer uplift, England and Wales
Frequency of release: Quarterly (July, October, January, April)
Period covered: Data at the end of the preceding quarter
Workforce covered: Police forces in England and Wales
The statistics cover all the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales.
In line with the established statistical series used for measuring the size and composition of the police workforce (‘Police workforce, England and Wales’), figures quoted in this bulletin include those on career breaks or other forms of long term absence, as well as those seconded into police forces from other constabularies. It excludes those seconded out from forces to central services (such as the Home Office, the National Crime Agency etc.).
1.1 Headcount versus full-time equivalent
Our headline workforce statistics (published biannually) report on officers on both a full-time equivalent (FTE) and a headcount basis. However, given that headcount is the most appropriate way to measure and track the recruitment processes which relate to individuals (e.g. applications, vetting, assessment centres), this release reports on officers on a headcount basis only. There is a relatively small difference between headcount and FTE figures. The most recently published police workforce statistics, Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2020, showed that as at 31 March 2020, the police officer headcount was 131,576 and the FTE was 129,110 – a 2% difference. For new recruits, the difference in the two measures is likely to be even smaller as most new joiners tend to start on a full-time basis.
1.2 Temporal effects
Once a force surpasses their baseline level (see chapter 2) new officers will start counting towards their uplift allocation. As there is a flow of officers joining and leaving the police service each month, the number of officers counting towards uplift can vary over the course of a year. For example, if in a given month more officers leave than join, the number of officers counting towards uplift would decrease compared with the previous month.
Some forces plan to run the majority of their recruitment at a particular point in the year as it may be more efficient to do so, whereas other forces may choose to recruit more consistently and continuously throughout the year. These decisions will vary depending on the size and composition of the force and the volume of new officers they are seeking to recruit. Therefore, while this release reports on the position of each force at the end of each month, it should not be used to compare the progress of one force against another.
1.3 Exceeding the year one allocation and local recruitment
Since the baseline does not account for locally planned recruitment and adjustments made after the year ending March 2020 financial year, recruitment under funds raised through year ending March 2021 local precept[footnote 2] flexibility (as well as recruitment funded by other means) must be taken into account when calculating the number of uplift officers.
For forces who have made a commitment to recruit further officers (through local funding), in addition to their uplift officers, the number of officers counting towards uplift is initially capped at their year one allocation. If the force continues to recruit and then also exceeds the recruitment plans under local funds, additional officers will then continue to count towards uplift.
Where forces have exceeded their year one allocation, they have chosen to continue recruitment in anticipation of funding for future years of the programme. As part of the Provisional Police Grant report, allocation decisions for year ending March 2022 have been announced with allocations for year ending March 2023 to be announced in due course.
1.4 Data collection and publication
Home Office statisticians have worked closely with police colleagues working on the Police Uplift Programme to collect and quality assure data for this publication. Data are sourced from police forces’ Human Resource systems and are collected on a monthly basis from each of the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales.
Data are published on a quarterly basis in April, July, October, and January, each year, for the duration of this recruitment drive. The aim is that each bulletin provides provisional data for the most recent quarter, and finalised data for previous quarters. Table 1.1 shows revisions made since the last quarterly release.
Table 1.1: Summary of monthly headcount revisions
|Month||Headcount published in ‘quarter to December 2020’ bulletin||Updated Headcount||Difference (Headcount)|
1.5 Additional data sources
The data in this release can be found in the ‘Police officer uplift, England and Wales, March 2021’ data tables.
Future editions in this series will be available on the statistical collection page ‘Police officer uplift statistics’.
National Statistics on the police workforce, including full-time equivalent (FTE) figures and information on other worker types, are published biannually in the ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin.
2. Allocations and Baseline
The first release in this statistical series , published on 30 April 2020, set out the methodology for calculating a starting figure (or baseline) against which the recruitment of an additional 20,000 officers would be measured.
While the announcement to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales was made in September 2019, we are not using the police workforce statistics as at 30 September 2019 (published on 30 January 2020) as the initial baseline. This is because most forces already had plans to increase their workforce establishment during 2019/20 following planned local council tax precept increases.
A full explanation of this decision, alongside further details on the baseline methodology, and in-year adjustments made since, can be found in the statistical note ‘Plans for statistical reporting on progress with the recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales’, and previous versions of this statistical series.
Throughout the duration of the recruitment campaign small adjustments to the baseline figure are expected as externally funded posts move from one organisation to another as a part of organisational re-structuring. For example, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire have both seen in year adjustments following loss of external funding (such as posts transferring out of the force to the National Crime Agency). The baseline figure for which recruitment of an additional 20,000 officers is measured is now 128,434.
Detailed figures for each Police Force Area, including in-year adjustments, can be found in Table B1 of the accompanying data tables.
Following the announcement of the Government commitment to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers by March 2023, the Home Office published details of the first phase to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers by the end of March 2021. Information on the allocations given to individual police forces can be found in Table B1.
As part of the Provisional Police Grant report, allocation decisions for year ending March 2022 have been announced. The next quarterly update of this statistical series (quarterly update to June 2021) will contain further information on these allocations, as well as progress made in the first quarter of year ending March 2022. Decisions on allocations for year ending March 2023 will be announced in due course.
2.3 What counts as uplift?
Each police force has a baseline figure, and an allocation of additional officers to recruit by March 2021 (Table B1). Police forces are required to backfill any leavers throughout the duration of the campaign, as well the additional officers allocated to them through the uplift funding before the recruitment goals can be met.
Exceeding the allocation and year ending March 2021 precept
Some forces have recruited officers over and above their year one uplift allocation. There are a number of reasons for this:
- In advance of allocation decisions for year ending March 2022 and year ending March 2023 being announced, some forces chose to recruit in excess of their year one allocation in anticipation of receipt of uplift funding in future years
- Some forces chose to run the majority of their recruitment early in the current financial year as it may be more efficient to run a single recruitment exercise rather than a number of separate ones; these forces will therefore see a spike in their headcount, as well as their uplift position, which will reduce as the year progresses as they have profiled to return to their allocation level as other officers leave the service
- Some forces also have plans to recruit additional officers through local funds, such as council tax precept; while the baseline takes into account additional recruitment under year ending March 2020 precept, year ending March 2021 precept and other adjustments were not accounted for at the time; in this situation the difference between the headcount figure and the baseline figure could be greater than the uplift allocation since the additional officers are not funded through the uplift programme, and rather through local funds
In scenarios one and two, officers in excess of the year one allocation are still counted towards uplift progress, since they are to be funded through this route. In scenario 3, since these officers are to be funded locally, such as the year ending March 2021 council tax precept, these officers do not count towards the uplift allocations.
For forces who have made a commitment to recruit additional officers on top off their uplift allocation (through local funds), the number of officers counting towards uplift is initially capped at their year one allocation. If the force continues to recruit, and then also exceeds the locally funded recruitment plans, any further additional officers will then continue to count towards uplift. As in scenario 1, these additional uplift officers are recruited in anticipation of uplift funding for future years.
Force A has a year one allocation of 50 officers, and plans to recruit a further 25 officers through local funding. Force A has a baseline figure of 1,000 and a current headcount of 1,060.
The difference between the current headcount and the baseline is 1,060-1,000 = 60 officers.
Since the difference is in excess of the year one allocation, and the force has made the Home Office aware of plans to recruit via local funds, only 50 officers would count towards uplift. The remaining 10 officers count towards the forces’ ambition to recruit an additional 25 officers through local funds.
Two months later Force A has a headcount of 1,095 officers. The difference between the headcount and the baseline now is 1,095-1,000 = 95 officers.
Since the difference now exceeds both the year one uplift allocation (50), and the recruitment plans under local funds (25), any additional officers once again count towards uplift. In this case, the initial 50 count as uplift, and the force has also achieved its ambition to recruit 25 officers through local funds, so the remaining 20 officers will once again count towards uplift, bringing the total uplift figure to 50 + 20 = 70 officers.
Figure 2.2: How uplift is counted, an example
The accompanying data tables break these data down as follows:
Table B1: Baseline, adjusted baseline and allocation
Table U1: Current headcount position
Table U2: Officers counting towards uplift
Table U3: Officers recruited via other means
3. Officer uplift to 31 March 2021
As at 31 March 2021 provisional data show that there were 137,704 officers in the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales. This is an increase, against the adjusted baseline (128,434), of 9,270 officers. Of these additional officers, 8,771 can be attributed to the uplift programme (a 7% increase on the adjusted baseline), and the remaining 499 through local funding (see chapter 2 for further details).
Collection of data for the monitoring of uplift commenced in October 2019. Figure 3.1 shows how officer numbers have steadily increased every quarter, to 137,704 in March 2021. On a monthly basis, officer numbers decreased in December. After a small decline between November 2020 and December 2020, officer numbers increased in each of the first three months of 2021.
Figure 3.1: Number of police officers1, 31 March 2019 to 31 March 2021, England and Wales
Source: Table U1
- Data for the most recent quarter (January 2021 to March 2021) are provisional and subject to change in future releases of this statistics series, when they will be finalised.
This release contains information on progress towards the recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers as at 31 March 2021, which is the first full year of the recruitment drive. All 43 police forces have met or exceeded the uplift allocations given to them for the year ending March 2021 period.
3.1 Officers counting towards uplift
As discussed in chapter 2, since the baseline does not account for planned recruitment and adjustments post the financial year ending March 2020, recruitment under funds raised through year ending March 2021 council tax precept (as well as recruitment funded by other means) must be taken into account when calculating the number of uplift officers.
Table 3.1 shows the number of officers in England and Wales at the end of every month for which programme data have been collected. The table also shows how this figure relates to the adjusted baseline, and how many additional officers are attributed to the uplift programme.
Table 3.1: Headcount and uplift position, by month, England and Wales
|Month||Headcount as at the end of the month||Adjusted baseline||Officers counting towards uplift recruitment||Additional officers under precept||Total change from adjusted baseline|
Source: Table U1, Table U2, Table U3
3.2 All new recruits
Not all new recruits will be counted as progress towards uplift, as forces must maintain their baseline by recruiting to backfill any leavers. The number of new recruits therefore exceeds the number of officers counting towards uplift, as some of these were recruited to backfill vacancies, or to achieve other recruitment commitments.
Figure 3.2 shows the total number of new recruits per month since data collection began in November 2019 (robust data for all forces was not available prior to that). These figures include all new recruits, and so will be a combination of officers recruited under precept funding, those recruited against uplift, as well as others recruited to backfill any leavers. However, these figures exclude those returning to the Police Service after a period of absence and do not include transfers between forces, so should not be used to deduce the actual number of leavers.
Since November 2019, there have been 18,420 new recruits to the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales. Officer recruitment levels vary by month reflecting the different recruitment cycles of individual forces. Recruitment levels were the lowest in December 2020, with many forces choosing to wait until the New Year to run a recruitment round. For example, 35 forces recruited in both January and March, while only 6 forces recruited in December 2020.
Figure 3.2: Number of recruits, by month, England and Wales
Source: Table U4
- These data do not include those returning to the Police Service after a period of absence, nor do they include transfers.
Data for individual police forces can be found in the data tables that accompany this publication.
Data on the gender and ethnicity of all officers in post at the end of each quarter, and of new recruits have been collected since 1 April 2020. Prior to that, such data were not collected as part of the ‘officer uplift’ monthly collection in a consistent manner, so do not form part of this release. However, data on the gender and ethnicity of new recruits are also published annually in the ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, the latest of which covers the period to March 2020.
Data on gender are collected under three categories (‘male’, ‘female’, and ‘prefer to self-describe’) see Glossary, and data on ethnicity are collected aggregated to five broader categories (White, Black, Asian, Mixed, Other and ‘prefer not to say’) to align with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Census 2011 classification. Home Office and NPCC continue to work with police forces to improve the quality of data collected on protected characteristics. It is expected that this will result in more complete data for officers and new recruits, as well as updated records for those officers in post where a characteristic was previously not stated.
Diversity of those in post as at 31 March 2021
As at 31 March 2021 there were 45,996 female officers in post, accounting for 33.4% of all officers. On the same date, 10,218 officers identified as belonging to the Black, Asian, Mixed or Other ethnic group (7.6% of those who stated their ethnicity).
Looking across each individual ethnic group, of all officers in England and Wales that stated an ethnicity, 3.3% identified as Asian, 1.3% as Black, 2.2% as Mixed and 0.8% as ‘Other’. While the proportion identifying as from a Mixed ethnic group was similar to that seen in the general population, rates were lower for Asian, Black and Other ethnic groups, as shown in table 3.3.
Table 3.3: Number of officers in post (headcount) as at 31 March 2021, by ethnicity
|Ethnic group||Number of officers (headcount)||Adjusted % of all officers (excluding where ethnicity was not stated)||2011 census population estimates|
|Prefer not to say||1,926||-||-|
Source: Table U8, ONS 2011 Census
In general, the larger metropolitan police forces with the most ethnically diverse local populations had a higher proportion of officers in the Black, Asian, Mixed and Other ethnic groups. For example, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) had the highest proportion of officers in the Black, Asian, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, with 15.8 % of officers identifying themselves as such, which is the highest proportion on record. This was followed by West Midlands Police (12.3%) and Bedfordshire (10.0%).
However, these proportions still fall below the proportion of residents in the each of these areas who identified as from one of these ethnic groups (40%, 30% and 23% respectively) at the time of the last Census in 2011.
The MPS, West Midlands and Bedfordshire police forces all also appeared amongst the five forces with the highest proportion of Black, Asian, and Mixed officers when considering each ethnicity group individually. MPS had the highest proportion of officers identifying as Black (3.4%) and Mixed (3.8%). West Midlands meanwhile recorded the highest proportion of officers identifying as Asian (7.8%), with MPS recording the second highest (6.1%). However, these proportions all fall below the representation of such ethnic groups in their respective resident populations.
North Wales, Cumbria, Durham and Devon and Cornwall police forces had the smallest proportion of officers from a Black, Asian, Mixed or Other ethnic group (each under 2%), reflecting the relatively small numbers of these groups resident in those areas according to the 2011 Census (ranging between 1.5% and 2.5%).
Diversity of new recruits since April 2020
Since April 2020 there has been a total of 11,991 new recruits to police forces in England and Wales. Of these, 5,037 were female making up more than four in ten of all new recruits (42 %). Whilst this falls below population levels (where females make up 51% of residents in England and Wales) this is a notable increase on levels seen in previous years. The latest annual workforce statistics showed 37% of new police joiners were female in the year ending 31 March 2020.
With regard to ethnicity, 10.6% of new recruits (among the 95% who stated their ethnicity) identified as belonging to Black (1.5%), Asian (5.0%), Mixed (3.4%) or in the Other (0.8%) ethnic group. This proportion of 10.6% remains below the representation of such ethnic groups in the general population (14% according to 2011 Census estimates ) and is similar to the 10.3% (excluding transfers and re-joiners) that we reported in the last annual workforce statistics to 31 March 2020.
Figure 3.4 shows that, of new recruits that self-defined their ethnicity as other than White, 47% identified as Asian, 32% as Mixed, 14% as Black and the remaining 8% as Other. By comparison, the 2011 census shows that of those who identified as Black, Asian, Mixed or Other ethnic, 54% identified as Asian, 16% as Mixed, 24% as Black and 7% as Other.
Figure 3.4: Composition of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic new recruits, by ethnic group, as at 31 March 2021, England and Wales
Source: Table U8
Data for individual forces can be found in Tables U5-U8 of the accompanying data tables. Similar data as at March each year are available in the ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin.
Baseline: The starting figure against which adjustments will be made (see adjusted baseline). The baseline accounts for people in post at the start of the recruitment drive, and also accounts for any recruitment planned prior to the uplift announcement.
Adjusted baseline: The adjusted baseline is the figure used to track the recruitment of an additional 20,000 officers. The adjusted baseline is the original baseline with in-year adjustments then made to account for externally funded posts that have moved since the calculation of the original baseline.
Counter Terrorism Policing: Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) is made up officers from police forces across the country. They work to protect the public and our national security, by preventing, deterring and investigating terrorist activity.
Management information: Data provided by police forces from their administrative data sources. These are provisional figures only and are not subject to the same assurance processes as National Statistics.
National Statistics: A status designated to statistics by The Office for Statistics Regulation. National Statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, impartiality, quality and public value, and are fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
New recruit: A candidate who is joining the Police Service for the first time. This does not include those returning after a period of absence, nor does it include transfers or those rejoining.
NPCC: National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). The NPCC brings forces in the UK together to help policing coordinate operations, reform, improve and provide value for money.
Police workforce, England and Wales: These are the established statistics on the police workforce, which have been designated as National Statistics. This release contains statistics on the numbers of police officers, police staff, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), designated officers, special constables and Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) in post on 31 March and 30 September each year (published in July and January respectively).
Precept: Police funding that is raised via local council tax.
Regional Organised Crime Unit: Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) are regional collaborations of police forces that bring together specialist policing capabilities to tackle the threat from Serious and Organised Crime (SOC).
Serious and Organised Crime: Serious and organised crime is defined in the 2018 Serious and Organised Crime Strategy as individuals planning, coordinating and committing serious offences, whether individually, in groups and/or as part of transnational networks. It affects more UK citizens, more often, than any other national security threat and leads to more deaths in the UK each year than all other national security threats combined. It has a corrosive impact on our public services, communities, reputation and way of life.
Uplift: The term used to describe officers who count towards the Government’s commitment to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by March 2023. Officers are counted as uplift once the baseline for the respective police force has been exceeded.
Precept refers to an element of local Council Tax which is raised for specific services, such as, policing, local councils and Fire and Rescue Services. ↩