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We Have Been Royally Had Over

smoke and mirrors

Last updated on October 31st, 2023 at 09:26 pm

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nothing to do with the Royal Family, but we have been royally had over by recent versions of what the Conservatives like to call a government.

We all know by now the extent of the damage caused to Policing the Tories since 2010, so I’m not going to waste your time or mine by going over it all again.  Instead I shall try to plot a course through the smoke and mirrors of government’s attempts to put it all right.


I recently took a look at the shrinking Met, sparked off by something Sir Mark Rowley said.  It certainly seemed to me that Met truly is shrinking and had been somewhat let down by the Police Uplift Programme.

My next self-imposed challenge was to examine the facts and see if we really do have more Police Officers than ever before, and here we are.  The first part was easy and obvious, the total number of Police Officers in England and Wales has undoubtedly risen from 139,910 in 2010/11 to 147,430 in 2022/23. Mainly thanks to the Police Uplift Programme, but that in itself was a Masterclass in Smoke and Mirrors.  One statistic that the Home Office don’t crow about is that in order to increase Police numbers by 21,000 they actually had to recruit 46,500 due to an appalling retention rate.  How much money has that wasted?

OK, so the Home Office achieved their 20,000, in fact they managed 21,000, but how is the rest of Policing?

Fig 1 we have been royally had over
Fig 1

Police Staff

The numbers are improving and the bald figures tell us that we now have just over 4,000 more Police Staff than we had in 2010/11.  I was under the impression that their numbers had not caught up, hearing of Police Officers being employed in offices to fulfil roles left vacant by insufficient Police Staff.  I certainly don’t know what the reality is, only what the dry stats tell us.

What about the rest?

We have been royally had over
Fig 2

Figure 2 relates to Police Officers, PCSOs and Specials only, plus the Grand Total.  The Thin Blue Line, or personnel available for operational Policing of various kinds.  The number of Police Officers is, as we know, improved, as has the overall total


The number of PCSOs in 2010/11 has just about halved now, and still going down. 15,820 now reduced to 7,806, and still falling, as shown in Figure 3 below. A loss of 51%.

PCSO 2010 2023 we have been royally had over
Fig 3

The poor old Met has fared even worse, with PCSOs cut from 4,009 to a mere 1,215 since 2010/11.  That represents a loss of 70%


Sadly Specials are actually worse off than the PCSOs, their numbers going down from 18,421 on 2010/11 to 6,481 in 2022/23. a reduction of 65%. In the Met, the numbers have gone down from 4,944 to 1,552, a reduction of 69%

Specials 2010 2023 we have been royally had over
Fig 4


Unsurprisingly, possibly, my conclusion is that yes, we have been royally had over.

The Home Office has been so busy trumpeting the alleged success of the Police Uplift Programme, that nobody has noticed the remainder of the Thin Blue Line,  The Police Staff have just about recovered, the Police Service has got its numbers back, but is now in a position where over a third of all officers have less than 5 years service, and PCSOs and Specials are possibly heading for oblivion if nobody does anything about it.

Speaking of which the College, NPCC and APCC have issued a joint statement;

tumbleweed we have been royally had over
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