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Police numbers in England & Wales: Social Indicators page

Published Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Police numbers in England & Wales: Social Indicators page

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There were 123,142 full-time equivalent police officers in the 43 police forces of England and Wales on 31 March 2017, a decrease of 924 (0.7%) compared with a year earlier. In addition there were 365 Central Service Secondees and 2,679 British Transport Police officers,  bringing the total to 126,186.

This headline measure of police strength includes staff on career break or maternity/paternity leave. Excluding staff on career break or maternity/paternity leave, the strength of the 43 polices forces was 118,079 at 31 March 2017, the lowest end of financial year total since March 1980.

There were just over 23,550 fewer FTE Police Officers (excluding long term absentees) than at 31 March 2010; a reduction of 17%.

Police forces recruited 7,526 officers in the 12 months to 31 march 2017 with 8,569 officers leaving over that period.

The proportion of female officers in England and Wales has increased from 7% in 1977 to 29% in 2017.

Ethnic minority strength as a proportion of total police service strength increased from 1% in 1989 to 6% in 2017. In London, the proportion of ethnic minority officers in the Metropolitan Police Service is 13%.

The Library's Police Service Strength briefing paper contains UK-wide statistics.

Commons Briefing papers SN02615

Author: Lydia Jackson

Topics: Employment, Police

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