Better pay and support needed to stop uplift becoming ‘revolving door’

Gwent Police has increased its officer numbers by 1.7 per cent in the 12 months until the end of September 2021, a Government update on the Uplift Programme issued yesterday has revealed.

However, Federation branch chair Steve Thorpe is warning progress could be reversed unless the Government commits to the long-term funding of the Force and ensures that police pay keeps up with the rising cost of living.

He said: “It’s great news that we are seeing our numbers rising once again following the damage of the austerity years. But I hope that the Government fully realises its promise to deliver a 111 Gwent officers by March 2023.

“It’s all very well getting new recruits into the Force but if we are to keep them, it is essential that officer pay keeps pace with inflation and the cost of living and that our workforce has the right equipment, training and support – if not the uplift could end up becoming a revolving door, and none of us wants that.”

Since 2010, the population has increased by 4 million and crime is becoming ever more complex and resource-consuming, so the Federation believes that further recruitment will be needed over and above this uplift.

Home Office figures show that there are now 139,939 officers in England and Wales, which is an increase of 11,505 officers. The Government’s target is to reach 148,000 officers by March next year, which is slightly above the numbers in forces pre-austerity in 2010.

The Federation’s national  interim chair, Ché Donald, said: “Police leaders must ensure they don’t just focus on getting people through the door, but also do what is needed to retain them, such as fair pay processes, investment in wellbeing and better benefits, as retention is still a problem across the service.”