Police Federation predicts ‘catastrophe’ if cuts in police numbers continue

04 February 2015

The equivalent of nine police forces will be lost by next year if cut backs continue to bite at the same rate, according to chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Steve White is warning that austerity measures are having a profound impact on the kind of service the police will be able to offer the public.

Home Office figures show a reduction of 16, 659 officers since 2010. If officer losses continue at the same rate as last year, by 2016 it will be the equivalent of losing the numbers of officers employed by nine forces at the beginning of the period of austerity, or 18,829 officers between 2010 and 2016 (see fig below). The same equivalent for the total workforce loss over the same period, including police staff, would stand at 42,314, or ten forces by 2016.

Mr White said: “We are clearly at a point where we cannot do everything we have always done, the cracks are showing. Officers have managed in the face of 20 per cent cuts but good will is waning and the stress of coping with depleting numbers and increasing priorities could end in catastrophe.

“If there are no more resources for policing and we have to continue then we will no longer be able to provide a full 24/7 response service on everything.  I do not think that is what the public will want. We do not just deal with crime; we deal with the prevention of crime, missing persons, welfare checks, people with mental health issues, neighbourhood policing, road traffic accidents – but officers are saying they cannot continue as they are.”

The Police Federation carried out a poll of local federations around the country and asked how many police officers, PCSOs and special constables were on duty during a late shift (Feb 3) .Of the 43 forces, 11 replied with a total number of 6,750 police officers and 685 special constables and PCSOs on duty. 

The College of Policing report, estimating demand on the service, found that while numbers of officers have decreased the UK population has increased and there are more demands on police time.

 

Officer Loss 2010 -2016[1]

 1

2 

 3

March 2010- March 2011

March 2010- March 2012

March 2010- March 2013

Force

Officer
Total

Force

Officer
Total

Force

Officer
Total

Devon & Cornwall

3556.01

Devon & Cornwall

3556.01

Devon & Cornwall

3556.01

Total

3556.01

Avon & Somerset

3301.55

Avon & Somerset

3301.55

Wiltshire

1180.80

Wiltshire

1180.80

Gloucestershire

1308.73

Gloucestershire

1308.73

Total

9347.09

Dorset

1486.47

Total

10833.56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 

 5

March 2010- September 2014

March 2010- September 2016

Force

Officer
Total

Force

Officer
Total

Devon & Cornwall

3556.01

Devon & Cornwall

3556.01

Avon & Somerset

3301.55

Avon & Somerset

3301.55

Wiltshire

1180.80

Wiltshire

1180.80

Gloucestershire

1308.73

Gloucestershire

1308.73

Dorset

1486.47

Dorset

1486.47

Thames Valley

4434.31

Thames Valley

4434.31

Warwickshire

972.94

Warwickshire

972.94

Total

16240.81

Bedfordshire

1246.25

 

 

Northamptonshire

1342.60

 

 

Total

18,829.66

[1] Projection based on years 2015 and 2016 experiencing the same level of loss as September 2013-14 (i.e. 1,295 officers)