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The Police Uplift Programme

Last updated on July 20th, 2023 at 05:41 pm

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Police Uplift Programme is the rather grand name given to the vanity project that is Boris’ 20,000 Extra Police Officers. So that’s what it is, but is it working?

If you get taken in by the publicity then you will think that it is working. Publicity seemingly endorsed by the National Police Chiefs Council.

The NPCC clearly say “additional Police Officers” but the small print at the bottom right of the graphic clearly states “new Police Officers”. To my cynical way of tninking they don’t mean the same thing.

So, What is the truth?

Between 2010, when life began again and 2019 an average of 5,424 officers were recruited into the Police Service of England and Wales, taking no notice of those that had left. However, recent improvements since 2017 have raised that average to 7,876 between 2017 and 2019.

If we are to recruit an additional 20,000 officers over 3 years, based on the last few years average, we would need to recruit an average over three years of 14,543 officers per annum for Boris and the Home Office to achieve their seemingly ambitious target.

How are they doing?

As at 31st March 2019 the annual recruitment figure was 12,883. Those were the most recent b-annual figures published. However the Police Uplift Programme, in parallel, publishes its own quarterly figures.

The most recent version states that at the end of December 2020 the total establishment had risen to 135,248 which is 10,995 more than March 2020.


Something doesn’t add up.

The March 2020 Establishment figure published by Home Office was 124,253 (Full Time Equivalent) Well, this is what is shown in their data tables. The published report however quotes a figure of 129,110. Confused? You will be. It would appear that difference is caused by Total Number of Officers versus Available for Duty Totals. Officers available for duty is the number of officers in post excluding long-term absentees.The Home Office also publishes the quarterly Police Uplift Programme reports. The December 2020 version quotes the total number of Police Officers as at March 2020 as 131,576, which doesn’t match either of those totals.

To confuse one even more, Police Workforce statistics are mainly based on Full Time Equivalent data, yet the Police Uplift Programe (also published by the Home Office) uses exclusively Headcount data, which produces a difference of slightly more than 2,000 over the 43 Forces of England and Wales They explain it thus

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. For example, the police workforce statistical series show 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.

It would appear that between end of March and end of December 2020 the Police Service has managed to recruit 3,672 new recruits. Is this feasible? Is this sustainable? Given the cutting back if training facilities since the Camoron and May ‘Austerity’ what is the quality of training being delivered?

Police Uplift Programme

In Conclusion

In year ending 31st March 2019, before the Police Uplift Programme took over, 7,974 (or 664 per month) new recruits joined the Police Service (not counting inter Force transfers) and 7,387 officers left the Service, which left the official establishment figure at 31st March 2019 at 118,456 (Headcount) . The most recent ‘official’ figure available is at 31st December 2020 when it stood at 131,576, or an ‘uplift’ of 13,120. 13,120 in 21 months or 624 per month on average. Call me old fashioned but I would describe those figures as being very close to those achieved before the Police Uplift programme was invented. In fact they are very slightly worse.

My humble opinion is that Police Uplift Programme has taken over the funding for recruiting, but has spectacularly failed to achieve its promise of 20,000 extra Police Officers in 3 years. The Home Office can confuse us with their approach to numbers, but we can work it out for ourselves eventually. They can attempt to impress us with the statistic (December 2020) that over 120,000 applications to join had been received since October 2019. Applications are not extra officers on the streets. That has remained remarkably stable.

End Of Term

More attention needs to be paid to detail. Homework needs to be completed and handed in on time. Could Do Better.

And Finally

I couldn’t sign off without referring to Diversity. The good news is that 40% of the New Additional Recruits have been female. At first glance is looks like good news for Ethnicity also

Police Uplift Programme

Until you realise that those figures only relate to the total percentage of BAME recruits (10.2% of the total) and not recruits as a whole. More confusing data.

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2 thoughts on “The Police Uplift Programme”

  1. On the Herts website it says ‘Constables: 1,953 (of which 410 are special constables)’
    I wonder if someone has been counting SPCs as PCs

    1. It’s entirely possible, and I think the Home Office mix and match data sets in an attempt to confuse. I fail to understand why we need 2 methods of counting Police Officers.

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