Disappointment at recruitment figures

1 February 2021

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe says new figures that show the Force has seen an uplift of only 27 officers in the Government’s high-profile recruitment campaign are “disappointing”.

Steve says there’s a lot of hard work needed to meet the Force’s allocation of 62 officers in Year 1 of the three-year drive, which aims to increase officer numbers across England and Wales by 20,000.

The Force has seen the joint second lowest uplift across England and Wales along with Dyfed Powys and Wiltshire. Only Dorset has had a smaller uplift.

Steve says: “We understand that the Force is facing an unprecedented challenge in recruitment brought about by the pandemic and the restrictions we’re facing, but even so these figures are disappointing.

“There has been an uplift of more than 6,600 extra officers in England and Wales during the first year of the campaign, 10 per cent ahead of the allocation of 6,000.

“So to see we’ve recruited fewer than half of our allocation is disappointing, and we need a lot of hard work to get it back on track.

“Despite that, we welcome our new recruits to the Force. Policing is a fantastic and rewarding job, and we wish them well in their roles.”

The latest Home Office figures show that since April 2020, 40 per cent of new recruits to Gwent Police have been female, and 5.6 per cent have been people who stated their ethnicity were from a Black, Asian, mixed, or other ethnic group.

Steve said: “We need to do all we can to continue throughout this process to attract recruits from across society to ensure a diverse service.

“It’s important our Force reflects the communities we serve,” he added.

Nationally, the Home Office figures show there were 135,248 officers in the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales as at 31 December 2020 – an increase of 6,814 officers, with 6,620 of them coming through the Government’s recruitment drive. The rest have been funded through local funds, the report says.

National Federation chair John Apter said: “With demands on police officers increasing and the continuing challenge policing the pandemic, it’s good to see the number of new recruits increasing.

“There simply aren’t enough officers at this time and the pandemic has shown just how fragile the resilience of the police service is as more and more officers report sick or self-isolate.”

He added: “We need to ensure there’s a consistent long-term recruitment programme and that everything possible is done not just to recruit, but also to retain those who join.

“We also need to see ensure that we don’t drive down the average age of recruits and continue to attract people with life experience. In addition, we need to use this recruitment drive to ensure a diverse police service, so that forces fully reflect the communities they serve.”