On track to add 150 additional police officers by 2023
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Last week (27 October 2021), the Home Office published its quarterly update on progress with the recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers by police forces in England and Wales, through the national Police Officer Uplift programme.
The good news is that nationally an extra 11,053 police officers have been recruited at the half way point in the Government programme, some 55% of the numbers promised by 2023. It is also positive to see more women signing up to join the police and more ethnic minority officers than ever before, now making up 33.9% and 7.9% of all police officers respectively nationally.
Here in Wiltshire, we continue to bring new officers into the service at pace. We are on track to achieve our target of 150 additional police officers funded directly through Uplift by March 2023, as well as our recruitment funded by local policing precept increases, through the Council Tax. This is on top of the required recruitment to replace officers retiring or leaving.
The latest report shows that we have 1,102 police officers, the highest number of serving officers in six years. More than 250 officers have joined since the start of Uplift, and a further 200 will start training in the next 18 months to the end of the programme, bringing more officers to the frontline.
This week we welcomed five new police officers who have transferred to Wiltshire Police from other forces. The officers have come from careers with the Metropolitan Police, Cambridgeshire, Thames Valley, West Midlands and MOD Police Forces. They will be deployed in Community Policing Teams across Wiltshire and Swindon.
We are one of the top performing police forces for female representation - 36% compared with the national average of just under 34% female police officers - and have one of the lowest attrition rates for female leavers in the country.
We continue to attract more women to apply – 44% in our last campaign in May 2021 – and more women are getting through the online assessment centre (49%). However, there has been a fall in the ratio of female to male joiners – down from 34% females starting training in the last couple of years to 29.6% in the 12 months to March 2021 with candidates from our 2019 recruitment campaign. We continue to monitor candidates coming through all the recruitment stages to understand what’s driving the results and what more we can do to appropriately reflect the communities we serve.
Our workforce from an ethnic minority background is growing, particularly among PCSOs and Police Staff, with 3.5% from a black, Asian and mixed ethnicity background. We want to attract more ethnic minority police officers to improve our representation, which is currently 2.5%, compared to a Wiltshire population of 5.5%. It was good to see 8% of applicants in our last campaign from an ethnic minority background and we will continue our work to increase representation in this area.