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The Police Uplift Programme – A Few Uncomfortable(?) Facts

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Last updated on July 20th, 2023 at 05:27 pm

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Police Uplift Programme is the rather grand name for Boris Johnson’s mythical 20,000 ‘extra‘ Police Officers that he has promised the population. I have previously mentioned it here, but have now had the opportunity to study the figures a bit more closely. If numbers are not your thing you might as well go and put the kettle on now, you won’t miss much.

First things first, establish the baseline. How many new recruits in an average 12 month period? Not totally straightforward as the Home Office Workforce data are released every 6 months, and the Uplift data are released every 3 months, with a monthly breakdown, but we don’t need to be totally accurate so we should be able to accept a benchmark.

In the 12 month period April 2018 to March 2019 there were a total of 7,974 new recruits, including 91 former officers who had rejoined, but nrot including Inter-Force transfers for obvious reasons. For the corresponding period 2019/20 there were a total of 12,883 new recuits including 190 former officers rejoining.

Figures like that, before we account for the Leavers, look quite healthy. How did the Police Uplift Programme compare?

For the 12 month period of January to December 2020 the Police Uplift Programme recruited a grand total of 12,807 new recruits, totally comparable with the 12,883 recruits who entered undr the traditional scheme. That seems VERY healthy.

Police Uplift Programme

How many recruits joined the Police Service of England and Wales during 2020 outside of the Police Uplift Programme, i.e. traditional recruiting?


Traditional recruiting fell by over 10,000 compared to 2019/2020 although the two datasets do overlap by about 3 months due to differing publication dates.

This leaves me with the question “How many left during this period?”

The only, accurate, direct comparison is for April 2018 to March 2019 and Apr/Mar 201920

In 2018/19 a total of 8,727 officers permanently left the Service for whatever reason, an overall loss of 753 officers. In 2019/20 a total of 7,141 officers permanently left the Service, a net gain of 5,742 officers.

At long last the tide has been turned, more people are joining than are leaving. But is that enough?

Police Uplift Programme

At first glance, quite possibly.

Police Uplift Programme

Not, it would appear, enough to take us back to the days before Austerity and Theresa May. PLUS, have we now peaked in November 2019, or is that just a blip? Only time will tell.

My personal opinion, and it is only that, is that the Police Uplift Programme is highly unlikely to deliver on the 20,000 EXTRA officers over 3 years. I hope I’m wrong, but time will tell. The other thing that has occurred to me over the last few days is that way more effort is being applied to recruiting brand new novices than there has ever been at retaining experienced officers. My final graphic of the day shows that the number of Voluntary Resignations is on the rise. You can’t do anything about Normal retirements, they are what they are, but you can always do something about Voluntary Resignations (if you want to, new recruits are cheaper)

Police Uplift Programme

DIVERSITY. The Police Uplift Programme must be good at Diversity surely? In December 2020 7.5% of the Police Service of England and Wales were officers of one ethnic origin or another. The Police Uplift programme recruits were 10% officers of a minority or ethic origin, so a mild improvement there. In December 2020 33% of the Police Service was Female. The Police Uplift recruits were 40% female, so, once again, small improvements made there.

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4 thoughts on “The Police Uplift Programme – A Few Uncomfortable(?) Facts”

  1. I don’t have the stats on voluntary leavers nationwide but I believe retention is possibly as big a problem as recruitment. Based on personal experience (without going into detail), once you are selected and then complete foundation training you feel ready to take on the job and very proud to pass out to the marching band on the parade square. However, after this it seems like the job slowly chews you up and spits you out, leaving you feeling like a burnt out mess, longing for rest days and holidays much more than being on duty. It seems there is something very wrong with job, with morale in general, and that is why people are not staying for the long term, even sometimes throwing in the towel before completing their probation.

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