This briefing paper explore police service strength data from the Home Office, Scottish Government, and Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Each country receives individual analysis utilising the available data from each police force area and international comparisons where available.Jump to full report >>
United Kingdom: Total police officer strength in the United Kingdom increased year on year between 2003, when there were 155,000 officers, and 2010, when there were just over 171,600. Since 2010 the number of police officers has fallen each year. At 31 March 2016 there were a total of 151,000 police officers operating within the United Kingdom. This was a reduction of 2.5% compared to 2003 and a decrease of 11.7% from 2010.
England & Wales: on 30 September 2016, there were 122,859 police officers in England and Wales. This represents a 2.2% decrease since September 2015. In March 2016, there were 124,066 police officers, 2.5% fewer than in March 2015.
Scotland: on 31 March 2017, there were 17,256 police officers in Scotland. This was approximately the same as the year before, when there were 17,317.
Northern Ireland: at the end of December 2015, there were 6,827 police officers in Northern Ireland. This was roughly the same number as the year before, when there were 6,840.
Commons Briefing papers SN00634
Authors: Grahame Allen; Elise Uberoi