» Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Police stats

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) drew journalists’ attention to the publication today of the latest police service strength figures for England and Wales. He noted that police numbers had reached a new all time high of 138,000 – an increase of 11,000 since 1997. There had also been an increase of 6,000 between December 2002 and December 2003, the highest annual rise on record. That took the total number of the extended police family, including community support officers and special constables, to more than 212,000. In his speech to the National Reassurance Policing conference today, the Home Secretary would also announce £5 million to fund the reassurance policing programme. He would say that although “crime continues to fall and the chance of being a victim of crime is at its lowest for 20 years, surveys show that 64 per cent of people believe crime has increased”. It was clearly important to continue to work hard not only to try to make people safer, but allow them to feel safer as well.

Asked if it was sensible to spend £4m of taxpayers’ money on changing the shape of policemen’s helmets, the PMOS said that as he understood it, this was a trial being run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), rather than by the Government. Five police forces – Dyfed Powys, Greater Manchester, Wiltshire, Thames Valley and Dorset – would be taking part at different times over the next twelve months. ACPO had issued a statement on this matter yesterday. He encouraged those interested to speak to them.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Apparently, the government has had great success on undetected crime as well, with a 34% drop.

    Comment by Lodjer — 2 Mar 2004 on 3:40 pm | Link
  2. I am glad that the changes are only to the shape of policeMEN’s helmets, as anatomically, police women do not have them. Will the EOC be addressing this with adjustments to non male issue body parts….. (Sorry, it is just that I get over flippant on Tuesday afternoons!)

    Comment by Zippy — 2 Mar 2004 on 4:00 pm | Link
  3. I’m glad we have more police.

    BUT – the question is not how many have we got but how many do we need so that – for example –

    When someone rings up to report a burglary a uniformed officer is available to deal with the situation?

    Immediately = ?
    within 1 hour =?
    same day =?
    ever = ?

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 2 Mar 2004 on 4:24 pm | Link
  4. If crime is falling, why are more police being hired? Also, in periods of low unemployment the calibre of people applying to be police will be lower than at other times, and these lower-quality people will remain in place for 20+ years. There was a problem with useless police hired in the early 70s, and intermittently ever afterwards.

    Comment by dave heasman — 2 Mar 2004 on 5:56 pm | Link
  5. Well, the fear of crime, and actual crime in a few categories, most seriously murder, are rising even as aggregate crime falls. Police recruitment might be expected to address the public’s fear of crime.

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 2 Mar 2004 on 5:57 pm | Link
  6. If Londoner’s want NY style policing,or any other part of the UK, we are going to have to double Police numbers in the citys to begin with, if not more and put up with stop and search at any time of the day and night, and stopping of more cars, as this is an excellent way of catching offenders who normally prefer driving to walking. Having worn a Police helment for a number of years, its about time they changed them, they are heavy, hot and usless, and serve no ‘bloody’ purpose except for tourists wanting a picture, while they are at it, dump the wool uniform for something a bit more washable..

    Comment by Peter Keating — 2 Mar 2004 on 6:40 pm | Link
  7. I worked out that if there are 138,000 police and the population of the UK is (let’s say) 60 million, that equates to roughly one police for every 435 persons. If each of those police were tasked with getting to know those 435 people, then I would have thought their job would be relatively easy (not that I’d want to do it, Respect! and all that).

    Comment by Jim Avery — 2 Mar 2004 on 7:43 pm | Link
  8. I would like to know where all these extra police have disapeared to, they are certainly not in my area.
    In fact you can walk or drive about all day without seeing a single one, something that you could never do in my youth.
    I don’t however blame the individuals I just think the whole system has become over bureaucrat’ic to politically correct and headed up by senior officers who have no concept of the real problem, or any idea whatsoever as to how to reduce crime and that comment holds for most magistrates and judges.
    The whole system needs a radical rethink with a strong character from the ranks put in charge.

    Comment by William Daniels — 2 Mar 2004 on 9:51 pm | Link
  9. Coming from that police state on the other side of the ocean, I can assure you of this: More police, in the short term, will have the benefit of making you feel safer. More police, in the long term, will make you feel like there’s an awful lot of emphasis on having a lot of bodies in blue uniforms looking officious.

    Tackle crime through other means – adding to police numbers isn’t going to single-handedly return us to those heady days of yesteryear when the bobbies walked the beat hand in hand with locals and the world was bright and fluffy. Tackle the social problems through other mechanisms, instead of using police numbers as a magical wand to wave away people’s irrational fear of crime.

    Comment by Gregory Lightyear — 3 Mar 2004 on 12:23 am | Link

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Post a public comment

(You must give an email address, but it will not be displayed to the public.)
(You may give your website, and it will be displayed to the public.)


This is not a way of contacting the Prime Minister. If you would like to contact the Prime Minister, go to the 10 Downing Street official site.

Privacy note: Shortly after posting, your name and comment will be displayed on the site. This means that people searching for your name on the Internet will be able to find and read your comment.

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


March 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Feb   Apr »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh