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The Police Uplift Programme – June 2021 Update

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Last updated on July 20th, 2023 at 03:04 pm

Last updated on July 20th, 2023 at 03:04 pm

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome, but be warned, if numbers are not your thing you may as well stop reading now.  I do my best but I really struggle to understand what the Home Office are playing at with the Update Stats that they release.  Not being a Graduate I’m obviously too thick to understand but they don’t make sense to me (at times)

I have become aware that some of the terminology used by the Home Office can sometimes be a bit baffling, so to help you out I’ll post their eplanations at the beginning so that you will be baffled no longer

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.

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.

Got it? Easy now isn’t it?

One thing that I don’t think I can argue with the Home Office about is that the number of Police Officers in England and Wales is rising, see chart below.

Police Uplift Programme
Fig 1. Chart showing Officer Numbers in England and Wales

Working out how we got to those numbers is where it starts to get confusing. The bold headlines released by the Home Office a few days ago are these

138,574 officers, provisional headcount as at 30 June 2021, England and Wales


+9,814 (of +20,000 by March 2023) provisional uplift figure as at 30 June 2021, England and Wales

How did we get to our 9,814 extra officers?

Police Uplift Programme
Fig 2. Police Uplift Programme Recruits

To save you doing the maths I can assure you that if you add the monthly totals up they do indeed come to 9,814. I have no idea why December 2020 is a negative number but if you compare it with Fig 1 above, there is a distinct dip in strength nationally for December 2020, so I assume there was a higher than normal exodus for some reason.

9,814 extra officers, that’s great right? And still ages to go. So how many were recruited outside of the Police Uplift Programme, PUP are the extra officers after all?

Police Uplift Programme
Fig 3. Officers Joining via Local Precept Increases

It should be noted that only 11 out of the 43 Police Forces in England and Wales have chosen to recruit by use of the local Precept, none at all in Wales.

So how does that look when you add them together? Total Recruitment?

Police Uplift Programme
Fig 4. Total Recruitment

A total of 5,546 officers were recruited via the Local Precept during the same period. Add on the 9,814 from the Police Uplift Programme gives us a total of 15,270 Recruits. Right? Well, I’m not actually sure because at a different point of the same dataset the Home Office claim there has been a total of 14,504 officers recruited between APRIL 2020 and June 2021. So where have the rest gone? Why the disparity in figures?

I have absolutely no idea.

In parallel with the Police Uplift Programme statistics, which are published, the Home Office also publishes bi-annual Police Workforce figures, which, confusingly, don’t quite fit in with the PUP figures. The most recent set of Police Workforce figures, published last week, claimed this

In the year ending 31 March 2021, 12,127 full-time equivalent (FTE) police officers joined the 43 police forces in England and Wales (excluding transfers). This volume of joiners was 756 below levels seen the previous year (a 5.9% decrease). However it was the second highest number since data collection began in the year ending 31 March 2003.

Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2021

Why oh why do they have to have so many different versions of the same numbers?

If it helps, the Police Workforce figures claim that that there was a total of 127,124 officers on 31st March 2020, and the PUP figures claim there was a total of 138,574 at the end of June 2021. This means that both methods of recruitment produced an actual increase over 15 months of 11,450.

However, what the government are not so keen to point out is that at the end of March 2010 (just before the Tories came to power) the 43 Police Forces had a total of 137,470. The year before we had 142,132. So the PUP don’t really look so good now do they? Even at today’s figures (assuming they are close to correct) we are nearly 4,000 short on the total we had in 2009, and if you ignore the post 2010 era, you have to go back as far as 2002 to find a time when we had fewer Police Officers (133,366).

The scale of the damage done to Policing by Theresa May and David Cameron is abundantly clear. Society, Policing, Crime, Public Disorder and many other things have changed out of all recognition since 2002 yet we are expected to be grateful to Boris for beginning to turn back the tide. Can we really cope, 20 years later, with fewer Police Officers? Will Boris’s Magic 20,000 really put things right? With officers still leaving at the rate of 6-7,000 a year, I suspect not, A recent Open University document expressed the view that a total of 50,000 officers woud actually be recruited over the duration of PUP in order to fulfil Boris’s pledge in real terms.

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