Dear Mr Campion,
You have been the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner for several years now, and as you know the world of Policing has suffered some savage cuts brought about, mainly, by Mrs Theresa May. ince 2010. Policing as a whole has lost approximately 21,000 officers in total across England and Wales. How does that affect West Mercia I wondered. Unfortunately there is no published data prior to 2012, but below is a diagramatic representation of what Mrs May’s cuts have meant to the corporate experience of West Mercia Police.
It is immediately obvious that the band which held most of your experience, the 5-10 years service officers, have been savagely cut from 599 in 2012 to a mere 115 in 2019 (31st March). With the exception of the 30+ band, your band with the most experienced officers in it is now the band with with the fewest officers in it, a reduction of approx 80%.
As time goes by, over the next 10-20 years that band will simply move to the right across the chart meaning that there will be very few officers within your Force with any significant eperience, the left hand side of the chart being populated by Recruits and Probationary Constables. This will presumably cause problems within your Force going forwards when it comes to Specialist Employments and Squads etc. The ‘experienced’ officers staffing Major Incident Teams will be no more, will have retired, and been replaced from within the mere 115 officers currently with 5-10 years service.
Boris Johnson’s planned uplift of 20,000 officers will not help to ease the situation because the Service will lose approx 21,000-22,000 officers in the next 3 years due to Retirements and Resignations. If he means 20,000 EXTRA officers, how will we train them all, particularly in the light of the College of Policing’s Graduate Entry Scheme? Where will we put them all as approx 650 operational Police Stations have been closed down, including some in West Mercia.
Inter-Force transfers would help alleviate the problem, but is that really realistic on that scale?
I can only conclude that Mrs May’s cuts have done deep and irreparable damage to the Police Service of England and Wales and that West Mercia Police is a major casualty in that.
Do you actually have any plans that will tackle the lack of experience within your Force, rather than merely boosting the numbers with raw recruits? The College of Policing’s PFEQ policy will probably not boost numbers sufficiently and certainly will not bring experience, or do you not believe that experience is essential?