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Forces remain on track for Uplift target, says Home Office

The government remains on target for Uplift recruits, says the Home Office. But frontline officers say forces still aren?t up to strength.
Published - 28/04/2022 By - Chris Smith

Forces remain on track with their targets for recruiting new officers, according to Home Office data.

According to the latest quarterly update, shared by the College of Policing, there are now 13,576 officers recruited for the Uplift programme.

It means forces have reached 68 per cent of the 20,000 target which they must get to by March next year.

That brings the total headcount to 142,526 officers in the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales as at 31 March 2022.

Of those, there has been an increase in the number of women and individuals from ethnic minorities. More than four in 10 of the new Uplift recruits (42.4 per cent) were female, while 11.7 per cent (who stated their ethnicity) identified as ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities).

College of Policing CEO Andy Marsh said: “Despite the huge challenges of the past two years, the figures are extremely positive and will be welcomed across policing and by the wider public.

“It’s also encouraging progress is being made in attracting more females and individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds, although there’s still more work to be done on this issue.”

He added: “It’s inspiring over 200,000 people have applied to become a police officer since October 2019. Many of these will become the future of the service and I’m heartened that the vocation of policing remains a strong draw.”

But there is growing concern over whether forces will be able to get to the remaining quota.

The Metropolitan Police has widened its recruitment area to outside its force boundary to help.

Acting Commissioner Sir Stephen House revealed last week he is concerned at whether the Met would meet its target.

He told the Home Affairs Select Committee he is now “less confident” that the Met will meet its targets, with the force needing to attract 40,000 applicants in the next year to replace officers who leave as well as attracting 1,800 new starters.

He said: “We need to recruit just over 4,000 officers in the next 12 months.

“That means we need around about 40,000 applications in the next 12 months because we take roughly one in 10 of the people who apply to us.”

Senior officers are also concerned about attrition rates. Police Oracle revealed in march that more than 2,500 recruits have quit.

And operational officers say they still don’t have enough people to meet demand.

Before the austerity era, South Yorkshire had around 40 PCs on roads duties going out on each shift across the force but, according to one officer, it’s now down to seven.

Another responded to the announcement on social media: “We still see big falls on response team. We rarely meet minimum strength - often well below. That is even with minimum strength numbers being reduced each year.”

The Home Office said progress was being made.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “We are ahead of schedule. Gratitude and admiration for all those who have stepped forward for duty.”

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