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Three months left to achieve the remaining 16% of Uplift

The latest police workforce figures show that the Uplift count on December 30 2022 stood at 16,753.

There remains over 3,000 officers to be recruited under Uplift before the upcoming deadline of March 31. 

It means that 16% of the target figure needs to be recruited in the final three months of the programme.

The figures have come to light in the latest set of police workforce statistics published this morning.

Dating to December 30 2022 - the latest headline figure represents an increase of 1,420 from the previous quarter. It leaves more than double that (3,247) to be recruited during this quarter.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman insisted forces are “on track” to reach the milestone.

The majority of that most recent quarterly increase was seen in October followed by a smaller increase in November. In December, however, there was a slight decline – where the number of joiners dipped below the number of leavers (this includes retirees).

The same trend was seen in December 2020 and December 2021.

The Home Office said: “This monthly decline was driven by reduced police officer recruitment in December 2022.”

Of the total Uplift figure, 478 have gone into ROCUs so far. 

Forces are required to backfill any leavers in addition to meeting their Uplift quotas. It means that today’s figure has taken the number of leavers into consideration and represents only those officers who are additional to a baseline workforce figure established at the start of the programme.

Concerns about retention remain, however, and 8,117 (FTE) officers left in the year to March 2022 – it was the highest figure since comparable records have been collated (2003).

Meanwhile, the Federation’s latest Pay and Morale survey found that one in five officers are saying they intend to resign within the next two years or sooner.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the Government of “failing to keep communities safe” and said ministers were “on course to miss their police recruitment target”.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said the Government was “letting down people across the country with their failure to recruit police officers and tackle crime”.

But officials are confident the target will be met.

42.6% of all new recruits since April 2020, not just through Uplift, have been female (51% of the wider population in England and Wales), while 11.5% new recruits identified as ethnic minorities (it compares to 18.3% of the general population).

The Home Office, NPCC and the College have also been collaborating in developing National Standards for Workforce Data. The aim is to bring more standardisation for the collection of data on protected characteristics. Information on protected characteristics is self-reported. 

The next publication of Uplift figures will come in April 2023 and will provisionally show whether the Uplift manifesto commitment has been met. The finalised data will come in July 2023.

The Home Office expects to spend £3.6 billion on the recruitment programme by March, with a total cost of £18.5 billion over the next 10 years, according to Whitehall’s spending watchdog.

In June, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned the recruitment campaign would “exacerbate pressure” on a criminal justice system which is “already under strain” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It also said hiring Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), special constables or police staff to fill the roles could lead to vacancies elsewhere in the service.

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