Analysis by finance experts, RIFT, has revealed which areas of England and Wales have seen the biggest boost to the number of boobies on the beat, despite fears that budget constraints could lead to staff cuts. As well as the only two police forces to have seen a decline.
RIFT analysed data on police force numbers across each police force in England and Wales and how these figures have changed over the last year (March 2023 – latest available).
The figures show that across England and Wales, the number of police officers has increased by 5.1% in the last year, climbing by an average of 1.3% per year over the last decade.
However, the police force is facing a tough time in the current landscape, with reports earlier this year suggesting it could face a budget shortfall to the tune of £700m and police chiefs warning of staff cuts as a result.
Despite these fears, every region of England and Wales has seen an increase in police officer numbers in the last year, with the largest jump seen in the South West at 5.2%.
The research by RIFT also shows that when it comes to the safest streets based on the number of police officers per force, the City of London, Derbyshire and Thames Valley rank top.
The City of London has seen a 13.2% increase in police officers in the last 12 months, while Derbyshire and Thames Valley have seen increases of 9.9% and 9.3% respectively.
Other areas to make the top 10 include Avon and Somerset (+8.9%), Greater Manchester (+8.5%), Lancashire (+8.3%), Durham (+8.1%), Surrey (+8%), Staffordshire (+7.2%) and West Yorkshire (+6.9%).
However, the analysis by RIFT shows that there are two police forces across England and Wales that have seen a decline in officer numbers, albeit marginal.
Lincolnshire has seen the number of police officers within the force fall by -0.7% in the last year, with Leicestershire also seeing a -0.3% reduction.
Bradley Post, MD of RIFT, said, “The current economic landscape is proving problematic for everyone, the police force included.
The good news is that as it stands, we’re yet to see fears of budget constraint led staff cuts materialise and, in fact, the number of police officers has increased pretty much across the board when compared to just a year ago.
For the general public this will come as welcome news and even more so for those within the force who have been stretched thin in recent times doing their best to keep our streets safe with the resources they have.”