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Pace of Uplift 'appears to be slowing' say researchers

Headcount figures also reflect growth in voluntary resignations

234 Uplift officers have been recruited over the past quarter, leaving a target of 6,210 to go - with only nine months left of the three year programme. 

It means that the current workforce headcount stands at 142,759 officers, and the Uplift figure at 13,790.

The figures are also starting to reflect an uptick in the number of voluntary resignations.  

Stats released on the number of leavers covering the year ending 31 March 2022 showed that 8,117 FTE officers left the 43 forces (excluding transfers). This is the highest number of annual leavers since comparable records began (March 2003). 

Although the leaver rate stands at 6 per cent, which is similar to the years 2016 - 2020, voluntary resignations made up 42 per cent of leavers this financial year. It represents an increase from 33 per cent the year before (it is possible deferred resignations may have played a part). 

Jon Parry, Head of Research at Skills for Justice has said that while on a positive trajectory, the pace of recruitment appears to be slowing. 

“The three months to June 2022 saw a net increase of 254 police officers across England & Wales, in comparison to the 2,567-increase recorded in the previous quarter.  

“Given that the current quarterly average increase since the Uplift Programme began sits at 1,300, the 43 forces across England & Wales have their work cut out if they are to meet Government’s ambitious targets.

“It is clear that against the background of a shifting labour market and the cost of living crisis, the government needs to pull out all the stops ahead of next March if they are to attract and retain talent and widen participation in the force in line with its own ambitious targets.”

Credit: Skills for Justice

Meanwhile, the Chair of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, Brian Booth, told Police Oracle that this should come as “no surprise”. 

“We’ve been warning those in power for years,” he said.  

He explained that West Yorkshire has recently had four officers leaving the force to become train drivers. 

“Last month we lost a Sergeant and a Fed rep to work for a train company - he was a firearms commander as well.

“He said he had had enough of being treated like a second class citizen.

“There’s nothing on the horizon, no inclination of a proper renumeration package."

West Yorkshire are seeing a high rate of leavers among new starters as well as an increase of officers leaving mid-service which Brian Booth attributes to two key areas - pay and the pension changes. He also indicated that workloads and public confidence are having an impact on morale. 

He does believe “all strings will be pulled” and that Uplift will be achieved, but expressed concerns about corners possibly being cut to get there and emphasised the importance of accepting the right standard of application. 

Meanwhile, Programme Director of the Uplift Programme, DCC Janette McCormick said: “ Evidence shows us that recruitment and planned attraction activity in policing ebbs and flows during the financial year.  

“With 13, 790 additional officers funded through the Uplift programme, we are ahead of where we projected we would be at this quarter of the programme and on track to deliver 20,000 by the end of this financial year.”

Not all new recruits count towards the Uplift target, some are recruited under precept funding and others are recruited to backfill any leavers. 

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