Minister claims officer numbers have reached record levels

Police officer numbers will reach the highest levels in history when new figures are announced next week, according to policing minister Chris Philp.

Mr Philp told GMB he was confident that records would be broken when the latest data is published on 26 April.

The latest available Home Office figures show there were 1,267 police officers serving in Dyfed Powys at the end of  2022, a four per cent increase on the 1,214 the year before.

Much of the increase was driven by officers recruited through the Government’s three-year Police Uplift Programme which aimed to bring in an additional 20,000 officers across England and Wales by the end of this month.

As of December, 104 officers were recruited through the programme in Dyfed Powys – 74 per cent of the target of 141 new officers for Force.

Speaking ahead of next week’s announcement, Mr Philp said: “I am confident it will show that we will have record numbers of police - more police than we have ever had at any point in the history of England and Wales.

“The previous high  point was in March 2010 when there were about 145,000 police officers in England and Wales and I am expectantly confident that when the figures are published next week we will have comfortably exceeded that previous high point.”

Dyfed Powys Police had recruited 104 officers under the uplift scheme by the end of last year

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones said he welcomed the increase in officer numbers.

He said: “Obviously we want to see the number of officers go up rather than down but we have always said new recruits taken on under the Police Uplift Programme would simply be replacing experienced officers we have lost through 13 years of funding cuts.

“We now need to see proper investment and resourcing in the service to make sure numbers are maintained and don’t slip back down to unsustainable levels.”

Mr Philp refused to speculate on the precise figure expected to be unveiled next week but insisted the number of officers in England and Wales would be “some margin higher, some thousands higher”.

The minister blamed previous administrations when confronted with evidence that police numbers went down by more than 20,000 between 2010 and 2017 when, according to the Home Office, there were just 121,929 officers.

He  said: “The reason police officer numbers fell in the years immediately after 2010 - and there were spending constraints in other public services as well  - is because the outgoing Labour government left the country essentially bankrupt and George Osborne had to take difficult decisions to put it back in order.

“Since we have managed to get the economy into better shape, we have been able to fund additional police officers to make up for not just those who were unfortunately reduced, but we are going to go beyond that and have more officers than we had in 2010.”