Government delivers on its manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional officers.

There are more police officers in England and Wales than ever before, new figures published by the government today confirm.

The government has delivered on its 2019 manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers by March 2023. This brings the total number to nearly 150,000 officers, more than 3,500 higher than the previous peak in 2010.

Police forces are now more representative of the diverse communities they serve, with over 53,000 female officers (35.5%) and over 12,000 (8.3%) from an ethnic minority background – both also at record highs. Whilst there is more progress to be made, thanks to the Police Uplift Programme there has been a 43% increase in the number of ethnic minority officers in England and Wales since the start of the recruitment drive.

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said:

When I stood at the steps of Downing Street six months ago, I made clear that I will do whatever it takes to build a better future for everyone in the UK, with stronger communities and safer streets.

At the heart of that pledge is recruiting more police officers than at any time in our history, and today we have delivered on that promise.

Thousands of officers are already out in our communities, tackling crime and keeping the public safe.

Home Secretary, Suella Braverman said:

This is an historic moment for our country. We have delivered on the promise we made to the British people which means more police on the beat preventing violence, solving burglaries and cracking down on antisocial behaviour.

These new officers are changing the face of policing. They are more representative of the communities they serve and this offers a unique chance to deliver the highest standards and common sense policing expected by the public.

Crime and Policing Minister, Chris Philp said:

Not only are we putting more police officers on the streets, we are making sure they have the tools they need to fight crime – and holding them to account to deliver.

Overall crime, excluding fraud and computer misuse, has halved since 2010 and I thank all the police officers who have contributed to this effort, and welcome those who are going to drive this down even further.

Gavin Stephens, Chair of National Police Chiefs’ Council said:

It is an incredible achievement to have recruited more than 46,000 officers, giving us more than 20,000 additional officers over the last three years. These additional police officers are much welcomed, bringing a breadth of experience, skills and diversity to their communities.

Those that joined at the start of the programme are now completing training and making a difference every day in forces across England and Wales.  It fills me with optimism that so many talented colleagues have joined with a real desire to keep their communities safe and feeling safe.

This landmark recruitment drive is a core part of this government’s commitment to drive down crime. Progress is being made, with crime falling in England and Wales by 50% since 2010, excluding fraud and computer misuse. Since March 2020 theft has reduced by 20%, homicides and knife crime by 8% and domestic burglary by 30%.

Ninety thousand knives have been taken off our streets through stop and search, surrender initiatives and other targeted police action since 2019. Alongside our ‘Grip’ programme, which is delivering more police patrols in streets and neighbourhoods most affected by violence, violence reduction units have prevented over 136,000 violence offences in their first three years of operation, supporting 215,00 vulnerable young people in their third year alone.

The County Lines Programme has also seen police shut down more than 3,500 county lines since November 2019, making more than 10,000 arrests and referring more than 5,700 people for safeguarding.

Since 2019, thousands of these additional officers have already made positive impacts in their communities and boosted local policing functions. There have been officers deployed to protective services for child abuse, sexual assault, violence against women and girls and community safety teams, making a visible impact on policing in our neighbourhoods and greater support for victims.

But the government also recognises that more must more progress must be made. The Home Office recently announced changes to crime recording, reducing paperwork burdens that the NPCC estimate could free up a potential 443,000 hours of police time a year. We are also working with partners to make sure police only attend mental health incidents they need to, such as where there is a risk of serious harm or criminality, so time and resources are focused on policing.

Police time and resources are vital to protecting the public and safeguarding victims, and with thousands of hours saved and an additional 20,000 police officers, police in England and Wales are getting the vital support they need to keep this country safe.

Published 26 April 2023