Blueline Jobs


NPCC Chair concerned by number of police staff vacancies

There are over 4,000 police staff vacancies nationally in critical roles NPCC summit told
Published - 15/11/2023 By - Cash Boyle

Recruiting police staff is an enduring problem which has left policing "underpowered and underrepresented in some critical areas", the chair of the NPCC has said.

Addressing the NPCC/APCC summit on Wednesday, chief constable Gavin Stephens warned against using the injection of new officers alone as a "benchmark of investment".

"The number of Police Community Support Officers is around half of what it was at the point of introduction 20 years ago. Plus, there are over 4,000 police staff vacancies nationally, in critical roles. 

"At the very frontline answering calls for service, or providing insight through data and analysis to identify offenders, or casual factors to prevent crimes.

"In specialist forensic roles, increasingly digital, to gather evidence and intelligence to protect victims bring offenders to justice. Experts in criminal justice to guide newer colleagues, colleagues with commercial expertise to ensure good public value...I could go on."

West Yorkshire chief John Robins picked up this issue during the Q&A following a later address by policing minister Chris Philp.

CC Robins, who also chairs the chief police officers staff association (CPOSA), believes far greater recruitment is needed. He argued that policing needs 40,000 new people - 20,000 officers and 20,000 staff - to properly function.

“Without that it really is an uphill battle...I believe strongly that there is not enough money in policing to deliver what the public want of us and deliver the expectations of politicians. Are you robust and resilient enough to take on the Treasury?”

CC Stephens also used his address to highlight a number of scientific advancements within policing, arguing that how the service embraces these "will be the single biggest driver of reform in policing in the coming years".

Among the developments is an update on the ongoing introduction of a new digital fingerprint matching system that will enable police to identify suspects in real time at crime scenes.

It's predicted that this capability, which speeds up each case by three days on average, will lead to a 50% increase in fingerprint hits from the 2025/26 financial year.

Citing a study by South Wales Police which found that suspects can be identified within minutes using retrospective facial recognition, as opposed to 14 days when it's not used, CC Stephens promised to expand the "fair and consistent use" of this technology.

In terms of new appointments, he confirmed that the NPCC now has a robotic process automation lead to advance the "tremendous opportunities" that exist to automate administrative tasks.

This work will be done using a £1.8m investment. Moreover, the NPCC has also established a new science and innovation committee to lead the efforts to scale up innovations that have been proven to work.

Operationally, CC Stephens referenced the successes of innovations such as Operation Soteria and Clear, Hold, Build.

The implementation of the former has already yielded some positive results; cases charged in South Wales increased by 90% from April to June 2023, while CPS referrals in the West Midlands has risen by 300%.

Clear, Hold, Build - initially piloted in seven forces - is now being used in 16 forces, with CC Stephens confirming that it will be deployed across all of England and Wales by March.

So far its deployment has led to a 50% reduction in violent crime in Manchester's Cheatham Hill, and to 57% fewer burglaries in Bradford Moor. 

Visit - the UK's leading independent Policing news website

News Archive