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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources


CHAPTER 2 POLICE FORCE PROFILES A SUMMARY OF THE REPORTS


On the pages that follow, we take the HMIC Police Force Profiles a stage further. We have extrapolated the officer and staff numbers for each Home Office function within each force, to show EXACTLY how many officers and staff each force employs. More than that, we display in table form, by force, every police function and the numbers of officers engaged in those functions.


Figures 7(a) to 7(e) detail from the headlines in Figure 1, and list the numbers of officers and staff engaged in each police function, by force. Figure 7(e) adds them all together to firstly produce what the HMIC term as Local Policing. Then, the table shows those officers and staff engaged in national functions that cross force boundaries and officers not available for duty, either because they are probationary police officers still in training, or who are absent due to maternity leave, career breaks, full time education or absent on long term leave. Finally, all the columns are added together to reveal the total officer and staff numbers.


Figures 8(a) and (b) take the HMIC visible staff percentages from their report “Valuing The Police”, and for the first time, apply them to each of the 43 police forces of England & Wales. Figure 8(a) shows the population per force area, the force strength from the Home Office Force Strength reports and recorded crime from the July 2010 British Crime Survey. The table then illustrates the number of crimes and members of public per warranted officer. Although this is typically how the Home Office have displayed officer to crime and population ratios, this is, in reality grossly inaccurate as a measure of police workload.


In fact, the vast majority of interaction with the public and initial reporting of crime is the responsibility of the front line officers.


Figure 8(b) uses the HMIC findings from force surveys about percentage coverage over three key shifts, Friday night 00:30, Monday morning 09:00 and Wednesday evening 19:00 hours. By ranking the forces in terms of population, officer strength and crime rate, it was possible to grade the force as larger or smaller to meet the HMIC definition. HMIC force surveys revealed that the following percentage of total warranted officers were “visible” for the respective tours of duty:


Force Size Larger Smaller


Friday Night 00:30 Monday Morning 09:00 Wednesday Eve 19:00 6.4%


10.7%


11.3% 11.4%


10.9% 10.0%


By applying these percentages to each force, multiplying by the number of warranted officers, we were able to arrive at the number of “visible” officers per shift, per force. HMIC conducted this survey in June 2010.


Averaging the three shifts produced an average number of officers anticipated to be available on any one tour of duty. This enabled us to then apply the population and crime level ratio’s more accurately for the first time. By comparing tables 8(a) and 8(b) it can be readily seen that each officer is responsible for


approximately 10 times the population and crime numbers that have previously been suggested by Home Office reports.


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