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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources Police staff numbers have doubled but is the public getting better value?


In the year 2000, the average ratio of police officers to police staff was 2.3 to 1 and by 2009, the latest Home Office figures show this number standing at 1.4 to 1.


Surrey Police has been at the forefront of workforce modernisation and a recent NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency) discussion paper, leaked in February, which talked about culling officers numbers by 28,000 was led by Mark Rowley, chief constable of the force. Mr Rowley suggested policing can be ‘at least as good” in forces where civilians make up half the force.


The report states that the police service would save in the region of £400 million. On paper, this is an attractive prospect to chief officers struggling to balance the books, but would it actually ensure our police service, renowned throughout the world, could actually deliver what the public in the UK want and provide best value, the watch word from all the political parties in a time of economic turmoil?


The research reveals how Surrey Police not only has the lowest ratio of officers to staff; it is also the first to exceed the number of officers. Yet, the same force has the lowest detection rate in England and Wales. The research states: “This does little to support the likelihood that civilianising policing duties that do not require warranted officers will lead to improved performance or value for money for the public.”


The research also found that in around a quarter of forces, in 11 out of 43, police staff numbers have increased at ten times the rate of police officers. In Durham Constabulary, for example, officer numbers have increased by 86 percent, 167 times the rate officers.


“Surrey Police not only has the lowest ratio of


officers to staff; it is also the first to exceed the


number of officers. Yet, the same force has the


lowest detection rate in England and Wales.”


Paul McKeever, chairman of the Federation said: “I think the situation with a hike in police staff numbers is absolute nonsense when the public want more police officers on the beat. Instead, we have more unaccountable, unidentifiable civilians who do not have the flexibility or resilience to give what is needed as an emergency service.”


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