News released last week shows that there are now more police officers than there have been at any time in history.
In March this year numbers in England & Wales reached 143,770, almost 2,000 more than a year prior to that. Doubtless the Labour Party will be trumpeting the fact that there are 15,000 more officers now than there were in 1997, when they came to power.
What they won’t tell you is how many officers are available to deal with the frontline day-to-day nuts & bolts policing. i.e. the service the public cries out for, seeing a copper on their doorstep within a couple of hours of asking for one. On a personal note I have seen no real evidence that there are more frontline officers parading for a shift in the local town. I see jobs on my box (PC) which have not been resourced for 3 days or more & day after day when the calls for resourcing outstrip the speed at which they can be dealt with.
What you also won’t see in the headlines this week & what the politicians will somehow fail to mention is the amount of forces who have a severe budget deficit & are being forced to cut many millions off their budgets in the next 3 or so years. This is already resulting in posts being combined or simply done away with – most often in the civilian support roles – but there will be, I’m sure, forces whose officer numbers will certainly not increase over the next 3 years, some will decrease.