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 2017 there were a total of 150,000 police officers operating within the United Kingdom. This was a reduction of 3.3% compared to 2003 and a decrease of 12.4% from 2010.
England & Wales: on 30 September 2017, there were 126,252 police officers in England and Wales. This is around the same number as at September 2016.
Scotland: on 31 December 2017, there were 17,256 police officers in Scotland. This has not changed from December 2016.
Northern Ireland: at the beginning of November 2017, there were 6,756 police officers in Northern Ireland. This was roughly the same number as in December 2016, when there were 6,827.
Commons Briefing papers SN00634
Authors: Grahame Allen; Lydia Jackson