6th February 2017

Since 2009 police service has lost a staggering 21,494 officers and things are getting worse – latest figures from the government dated 30th September 2016 show the largest drop in officer numbers for the past 3 years.

Number of officers has fallen every year for past 7 years, which means nationally in England & Wales that the total amount of officers is down from 125,574 to 122,859 (-2.2% = 2,715)

Locally police officer numbers in Norfolk have fallen from 1,650 in 2012 to 1,472 in 2017. This is a loss of 178 officers which is an 11% drop in numbers.

 The yearly data shows the following for Norfolk Constabulary:

  • Sept 2015 – 1,557
  • March 2016 – 1,515
  • Sept 2016 – 1,505

 From Sept 2015 to Sept 2016 Norfolk lost 52 officers which is a 3.4% drop in year. 

Chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, Andy Symonds says “These are worrying figures and trends. Officers nationally and in Norfolk are under pressure and are acutely feeling the strain placed upon them from ever reducing officers and the increase in complex work they have to do. There is only so much strain you can place on officers before something has to give”

 “The Chief Constable is in a difficult position financially and he is restricted to the amount of money he is giving in the police grant from the government. We fully support the recent news that the PCC, Lorne Green and made the decision to increase the policing element of the council tax by 2%. Unfortunately this increase will only plug the gap in the police grant given to Norfolk Constabulary, so we will not have much room to increase officer numbers”

 Chair Andy Symonds says “Not only do we have ever smaller numbers which is placing pressure on officer’s health, mentally and physically but we have a significant number of officers nearing retirement. This will significantly impact the force as it will leave gaps and a huge loss of experience”


As of March 2016

  • 47% aged between 41 and 55
  • Over last 10 years proportion of police in older age groups has increased while those under 26 has fallen = trend towards  older workforce
  • Since 2007 proportion of officers over 40 increased from 39% to 48%
  • Same period proportion under 26 has halved from 8% to 4%

The National Police Federation Chairman Steve White states:

Police service ‘still haemorrhaging officers’

The police service is continuing to haemorrhage officers warns the Police Federation, as the latest figures show an alarming drop of nearly 21,500 officers lost since 2009.

Steve White, chair said: “This is a wake-up call. The number of officers has been consistently dropping every year for the past seven years. Last year recorded the largest drop in three years. The thin blue line is getting even thinner and it’s wreaking havoc on our members.”

Mr White was speaking as the Home Office released Police Workforce figures for the year ending 30 September 2016 which showed:

  • Total officers across the 43 forces were now down to 122,859
  • more than 2,700 left the service over the 12 month period
  • The picture was even worse for the total workforce including police staff and PCSOs where 6,200 quit

“We value our older officers – they bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to the job but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that having an ageing workforce at times when nationally violent crime is up by 24% including a 9% rise in knife crime and 7% rise in gun crime might just persuade more of these officers to consider leaving the service.

“We’ve continually pointed out that these conditions are exacting an enormous toll on the health – and welfare of our officers. A police officer is assaulted every 22 minutes – that’s 64 a day. No wonder they are either leaving in droves or having to take sick and stress leave.

“The stakes have never been so high. At a time when we are having to deal with a heightened state of alert it is vital that we have a properly resourced police service, fit for duty, fit for purpose. What we need is action from the Government to address this, protect our police service and stop more officers from leaving.”

Also a concerning picture nationally is that we have an ageing workforce:

 Note to Editors

  • The force by force data tables are available on this page: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-workforce-england-and-wales-30-september-2016